Florida Bar divided on legislation that would expedite foreclosure process

Apr.April 15, 2013 04:00 PM

Members of the Florida Bar Association are deeply divided on the topic of a new bill in the Florida legislature designed to speed up the state’s slow-moving foreclosure process, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The new legislation would lessen the amount of time that a bank can go after a homeowner for unpaid mortgage debt, call for senior judges to hear foreclosure cases and restrict owners whose homes were wrongfully foreclosed on from reclaiming them if a third party has purchased them, the Post said. 

Some attorneys feel the proposed law favors banks.

“It was with a very heavy heart and hand that we decided to oppose the very organization that we are members of,” foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim told the Post. “But if they think we’re going to stand by and let this happen, they’re crazy.”

Letters published in the online version of the Florida Bar News have added fuel to the fire. In the letters, opponents of the proposed legislation accuse supporters of sacrificing due process and protecting the title insurance industry instead of consumers.

Others say foreclosures need to be speedier, whatever the cost. “Some groups oppose foreclosure reform and support inaction for the sole purpose of delaying foreclosure,” an anonymous commenter said.

Florida had the second-highest numbers of foreclosures of any state in the country in March. Foreclosure courts have a 366,250-case backlog.

The House’s version of the foreclosure bill, HB 87, has passed three committees and is scheduled to be heard in one more before a full vote. The Senate’s version of the foreclosure bill, SB 1666, has passed one committee and is scheduled to be heard next by the Judiciary Committee. [Palm Beach Post]  —Evan Bleier

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