Homeowners – Ignore Foreclosure at your own peril! The Threat is Real!
As Foreclosure court proceedings take less and less time to process, it is important for homeowners to act fast when being served and not ignore the situation. On a daily basis homeowners call me sometimes weeks or months after being served by a process server on a new foreclosure. Most homeowners ignore the notice that is delivered with their court lawsuit complaint. This Notice clearly states that they have 20-days to respond to the documents being hand-delivered to them.
Everything in our Court system runs on pressing deadlines. If you fail to respond to the documentation within 20-days, then this allows the Lender/Plaintiff to file a Default against you in Court and seek a prejudicial ruling against you in the action. By asking the Courts for a Default Judgment against a homeowner, the Foreclosure proceeding is cut down to a couple of months since no proper Defenses are being brought against the action.
This lack of representing in a Foreclosure together with the Court’s new Fast Track Foreclosure implementation processing is detrimental for homeowners who fall asleep at the wheel. On January 16, 2014 Paul Owners of the SunSentinel reported that a new law designed to speed up foreclosure filings took effect July 1, 2013 and the state spent more than $6 million hiring retired judges to cut through the backlog of cases.
Florida started 2013 with more than 372,000 open foreclosure cases, but that number is down to about 263,000 as of the end of November, according to the latest data from the state courts administrator for the Florida Supreme Court.
Owners also stated that South Florida and the state led the nation in foreclosure activity last year, topping the rankings as lenders and judges moved aggressively to reduce the backlog of cases from the housing crash.
The tri-county region posted the highest foreclosure rate among 209 metro areas, with one in 25 homes in some stage of repossession, according to RealtyTrac Inc. Florida led all states with a foreclosure rate of one in 33 homes.
“While it doesn’t sound good to be No. 1 for foreclosures, it is a good sign that the state is dealing with the distress and not just kicking the can down the road,” said Daren Blomquist, a spokesman for RealtyTrac, an Irvine, Calif.-based listing firm.
Homeowners also need to be conscious that properties are hitting the foreclosure auction date calendar much faster than ever before, thus causing evictions to be eminent when not represented by counsel. In Broward County, properties scheduled for auctions jumped by 72 percent (15,384 from 8,953) compared with 2012. In scheduling an auction, a judge has ruled in favor of the lender and is allowing the home to be repossessed or sold to a third party. Traditionally, banks have taken back the properties, but many investors now are outbidding lenders at the auctions.
With new fast track foreclosure proceedings and with investors willing to purchase homes for cash at auction, it is now more important than ever that homeowners safeguard their own interest and hire an attorney to protect them in the foreclosure process. Without proper representation homeowners may run out of time before they can complete processing or qualifying for foreclosure assistance programs such as short sales or modification.
By: Nerlin Ontivero, Esq