Monday, December 12, 2016

Stalled Florida Foreclosure Cases To Be Brought Back To Life After State High Court Ruling Neuters Statute Of Limitations Defense

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports:
  • Delinquent South Florida homeowners could be getting long-delayed foreclosure notices after a court ruling cleared the way for lenders to revive cases that have stalled for years.

    The Florida Supreme Court ruled last month that lenders can refile foreclosure cases against owners still in default, even if the cases started more than five years ago, beyond the statute of limitations.

    "It definitely gives banks more privileges to bring cases back to life," said Jerry Tepps, a foreclosure defense lawyer in Sunrise.

    Among those worried about what happens next is Adam Broder, who paid $386,000 for a two-bedroom condominium in Delray Beach in April 2005, just before the housing market collapsed.

    He stopped making payments in 2009, he said, and hoped to get a mortgage modification. Instead, his lender, BAC Home Loans Servicing, filed a foreclosure action that BAC later dismissed voluntarily, records show.

    The case has been in limbo for seven years. "I just want to settle at this point and get on with my life," said Broder, 36. "But the ruling gives [BAC] as much room as they want to start all over again."

    It's unclear how many other Florida homeowners will face foreclosure as a result of Bartram v. U.S. Bank National Association.
    Although the court's ruling favors lenders, it does provide hope to owners who want to keep their homes, said [Thomas] Ice, [a] Royal Palm Beach attorney. While lenders can refile cases that were started more than five years ago, they can't collect on missed payments beyond five years, Ice said.

    He cited as an example a hypothetical homeowner who defaulted in 2007. The foreclosure was filed in 2008 but later dismissed. In refiling the case now, the lender can collect only the missed payments going back to 2011. The missed payments from 2007-2010 are wiped out.

    Ice said homeowners and their attorneys should make sure the lenders aren't trying to collect more past-due payments than they're allowed.
For more, see Court ruling lets lenders bring stalled foreclosures 'back to life' (Court ruling clears way for lenders to refile stalled foreclosures).

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