Foreclosures inundate Florida courts

More than 700,000 foreclosure cases have been filed in Florida in the past two years, one out of four in Broward and Palm Beach counties, the Sun-Sentinel reported. In South Florida, the number of foreclosure cases has increased tenfold in five years. In Broward, about 52,000 cases were filed last year, up from 5,300 in 2004. In Palm Beach County, about 30,000 foreclosure cases were filed last year, up from about 3,200 five years earlier. “It’s overwhelming the courts,” said Broward Circuit Judge Jack Tutor. He estimates that he and the other circuit civil judges are each juggling 5,000 to 6,000 cases at one time, two out of three of which are foreclosures. To cope with the pressure, plans are being made to hire retired judges and case managers to handle more of the foreclosures. Also, beginning next month, lenders or loan servicers will be required to go to mediation with Florida borrowers before they can ask a court to issue a foreclosure judgment against a homesteaded. Only after going to mediation can the issue be taken up in court. [Sun-Sentinel]

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