The Real Deal Miami

Florida’s expedited foreclosure bill draws ire of homeowner advocates

February 06, 2012 04:30PM

Rep. Kathleen Passidomo

A handful of Florida activist groups are preparing to rally later this month against a bill being discussed in the state’s legislature that would streamline the foreclosure process, the News-Press reported.

Introduced by a Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, a real estate lawyer from Naples, House Bill 213 attempts to speed the process in five key ways. First it would allow all lienholders to use expedited foreclosure procedures that were previously reserved only for banks. If passed, the bill would both reduce the number of required hearings and the amount of time a lender has to go after a foreclosed homeowner. Further, it aims to provide a definition for abandoned properties so that they can be processed more quickly and require lenders to inform the court of lost documentation before the case is heard.

The bill would help ease the backlog of foreclosures that have plagued the state, which has the third highest number of underwater homes and takes more than 800 days, on average, to process foreclosure filings.

But homeowner advocates worry that the bill will bring the state closer to nonjudicial foreclosure settlements, which Gov. Rick Scott has already indicated he’s interested in exploring. [News-Press]