Florida is famous for attracting “snow birds,” or seasonal residents that live in the area during the cooler months. Some of these part-time residents come from nonjudicial foreclosure states, and thus the Sunshine State’s foreclosure process may seem foreign to them. Thus, seeking out guidance from a Florida foreclosure defense lawyer is all the more essential for securing a favorable outcome.
If you are facing foreclosure on your Florida residence, here are some key differences between the two foreclosure processes you should know.
In a nonjudicial foreclosure state, the creditor is not required to go through the court to carry out the foreclosure process. Instead, the lender would merely be required to send you a notice of default, report the notice to the county for recording purposes, and send you a notice when the property sells. Banks can still pursue judicial foreclosure in these states, but doing so is not common practice as it is more time and cost intensive. However, you would still hold the right to file a lawsuit defending the action, which would move the process to the courtroom.
In states that require judicial foreclosures, like Florida, court action must be taken to secure a foreclosure. This timeline for this process is usually far longer than nonjudicial foreclosures, as it has more steps that must be completed, and must account for the court’s (often busy) schedule.
The process begins when the lender files a Summons and Complaint with a lis pendens, which means that litigation is pending. As the borrower, you then have the opportunity to respond to the action within 30 days. Guided by your attorney, you can answer the action with a motion to dismiss or simply dispute the claims if there are inaccuracies in the creditor’s account of the situation. Determining which option is right for you is best accomplished with the help of a Florida foreclosure defense lawyer.
If an answer is filed or the motion to dismiss is denied, you can present an answer to the lawsuit during a preliminary hearing. Should your answer be deemed unsatisfactory, the case will proceed to the summary judgment hearing. During this phase, you will each have the opportunity to present your side of the story. Your attorney will work with you to determine the best foreclosure defense, looking for any infringements on your rights or errors on the part of the lender. If the final summary judgment returns a ruling in favor of the lender, the bank will be permitted to move forward to the foreclosure sale.
In Florida specifically, creditors can also seek out deficiency judgments against delinquent borrowers. This means that if the amount obtained from the foreclosure sale does not satisfy your remaining debt, the lender can request a deficiency judgment to compel you to pay the amount remaining, called the deficiency. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a way around this, depending on the circumstances at hand.
If you have questions about foreclosure in Florida, we have answers. Our law firm offers no-cost, no-commitment consultations, and we encourage you to schedule one today. Our goal is to protect your rights, and we won’t stop until you get the best outcome possible.