As you may have read, House Bill 87 (H.B. 87) was recently passed by the Florida legislature and proposes to make significant changes with respect to the Florida Statutes regarding mortgage foreclosure actions. As of now, H.B. 87 will become new law unless Governor Rick Scott decides to exercise his veto power, which seems unlikely at this point.
Significantly, the new legislation will shift the burden of proof in mortgage foreclosure cases from the plaintiff (bank), to the defendant (homeowner). Thus, if H.B. 87 is ratified, the homeowner will now have to prove that the bank lacks the legal right to foreclose at the very onset of the proceedings. This shift will significantly restrict the homeowner’s ability to defend the case as banks will now be able to seek what is being termed an “expedited foreclosure.”
Going forward, and in the likely event H.B. 87 becomes new law, it will be even more imperative for homeowners to hire a competent foreclosure defense attorney as soon as the complaint is filed. This will enable the homeowner to seek valuable discovery from the bank, which is often vital to the defense of any foreclosure action. Additionally, it is even more imperative that any homeowner start strategizing as soon as a default on the loan is inevitable in order to allow them the necessary time to complete a short sale and/or other means of addressing the deficiency balance. The new bill will drastically accelerate the timeframe to complete many foreclosures.
As always, should you have any questions regarding H.B. 87 we recommend you contact a real estate attorney. For your convenience Berlin Patten has prepared a bullet point outline of H.B. 87 and the various amendments to Chapters 95 and 702, of the Florida Statutes, which will be available upon individual request.
This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.
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