The Real Deal Miami

Questions over Florida mediation program

November 02, 2011 04:00PM

While Florida law requires banks to meet with homeowners to attempt to resolve delinquent mortgages before an official foreclosure, few of these mediations ever end up reaching an agreement.
The 2009 law requiring mediation before foreclosure was an effort to mitigate Florida’s countless mortgage issues and come to mutually acceptable solutions for lenders and borrowers without having to go through the state’s overcrowded court system.
The Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program is now used in every circuit in the state, but in a one-year period from March 2010 to March 2011 less than 4 percent of cases eligible for mediation ever reached a successful agreement, according to data from Office of the Supreme Court Administrator.
According to Ned Pope, the program’s director, statewide participation is up 30 percent and about half of the cases end up with a resolution. The problem, he said, is marketing the process to homeowners early on in the foreclosure process.
“At two months delinquency there is a much better chance that they will still be living in the residence and are interested in exploring their options to avoid foreclosure,” Mr. Pope said. “This makes them much more responsive to our outreach.” [Miami Today]