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Revisions To Mortgage Foreclosure Procedures in Florida

HB 87, a controversial foreclosure bill that passed the Legislature, was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on June 7, 2013 to become Chapter 2013-137 of Florida laws.

The most significant portion of this law refines the use of an order to show cause as an alternative to a traditional foreclosure procedure and extends its applicability to foreclosure of condominium and association liens. It is expected that, as a result of this statute, the order to show cause procedure will be more commonly employed as an alternative to traditional foreclosures.

The statute allows a judge, without participation of the litigants, to set a hearing on the order to show cause as early as the later of 20 days after the order is served on the defendant or 45 days after a complaint is served upon the defendant. Unless the defendant raises a “genuine issue of material fact which would preclude summary judgment” the judge may thereafter render a foreclosure judgment at such hearing. Conceivably, the statute could reduce the time to complete a foreclosure from a minimum of 6 months to less than 60 days.

For foreclosures on residential property, the statute reduces the period in which a lender can seek a deficiency against the borrower to one year following issuance of a certificate of title or delivery of a deed in lieu of foreclosure. It also contains certain required allegations relating to ownership of the note and authority to bring the foreclosure action.