A deadline for lenders to collect balances on distressed mortgages was a “big win” for thousands of homeowners.
Florida’s Fair Foreclosure Act, which took effect July 1, 2013, gave lenders one year from the date of foreclosure to sue homeowners for deficiencies or balances owed on mortgages.
The new law also limited the amount of time banks have to sue to recover deficiencies. Before the Fair Foreclosure Act, Florida banks had five years after a foreclosure judgment to seek a judgment to collect the unpaid mortgage balance. But the law closed the five-year window that would allow lenders to file suit for deficiencies dating back to 2008.
Under the new law, lenders had until Tuesday to sue to collect outstanding balances on foreclosure judgments issued between July 1, 2009, and July 1, 2013.
“This is a big win for all homeowners who should have been afraid for their financial wellbeing because of these deficiency judgments that are out there,” said foreclosure defense attorney Bruce Jacobs, principal of Bruce Jacobs & Associates in Miami. “As of July 1, banks don’t have the right to come after you anymore” for the group in the 2008-2013 window.
Foreclosure defense attorneys estimated at least 100,000 South Floridians benefited from the deadline. Courts don’t track deficiency filings, but data from the Office of State Courts Administrator show 506,775 foreclosure filings in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties between July 2008 and July 2013.