At Weidner Law we specialize in assisting residents with Florida foreclosure problems and that includes answering questions about the foreclosure experience. Today we want to address a few of your questions about foreclosure in Florida and help you to get a better understanding of the foreclosing process.
Florida Foreclosure Help – Answering Your Foreclosure Questions
Q: Do state or federal laws govern the foreclosure process?
A: Both state and federal laws govern the foreclosure process.
Q: Aren’t foreclosure laws set up to protect lenders and not homeowners?
A: It used to be this way. It used to be that both state and federal laws focused on protecting lenders over all else, this has changed in the last decade. Now most of the laws pertaining to foreclosure protect homeowners who have borrowed money to buy their homes. For example, you may notice that these days there is much more regulation of the lending process as well as the foreclosure process. This changed focus is part of the effort to stop predatory lending.
Q: What options do I have if my house is in foreclosure?
A: The options available to you if your house is in foreclosure depend on your individual situation. The best way to find out where you should go from here is to consult an attorney who specializes in foreclosure. Your attorney may suggest a few different approaches to the problem of foreclosure, for example, they may help you to work with your lender and set up a new payment option that is more feasible for you. In short, a lender wants to hang onto their borrowers because they know that caring for an existing customer is much less costly than obtaining and caring for a new customer! Why? Because if you do go through the foreclosure process it can drag on and on and during that time, no one is getting paid except for the court system!
Q: What rights do I have when going through a Florida Foreclosure?
A: Florida has established contractual rights that are granted to the homeowner and that are supplemented with federal and legal protection.
In Florida the homeowner’s contractual rights include:
- Apply for loss mitigation
- Receive a pre-foreclosure brief letter
- The opportunity to catch up on missed payments to bring your loan current and to put an end to the stop the foreclosure process.
- To receive a notice of foreclosure.
- To have the chance to reply to that notice of foreclosure in court.
- Special protection for military personnel.
- The opportunity to file for bankruptcy.
- To receive any left over money once the foreclosure has been completed.
Q: I’ve never even heard of foreclosure until now, so what is pre-foreclosure?
A: When we talk about pre-foreclosure, we are talking about the period of time before foreclosure officially begins but after you have started falling behind on payments. During the pre-foreclosure period your lender will continue to assess fees on your late payments and can even charge you fees for an inspection of your home!
Q: What is a breach letter?
A: A breach letter is a letter that a lender will send you once your fall into the pre-foreclosure period. This letter will tell you how you can avoid the foreclosure process.
Although a breach letter describes how you can avoid foreclosure, it is still best to check with your attorney to discuss the options that are available to you and which may be best.
Q: When does the foreclosure process begin?
A: The federal law states that the lenders cannot begin the foreclosure process until a homeowner falls more than 120 days past due on their payments – that’s four months. There are some exceptions to this rule, but in most cases 120 days is deemed enough time for homeowners to catch up on payments or negotiate a solution with their lender.
Q: What is a judicial foreclosure?
A: When a homeowner falls behind on their Florida house payments, the foreclosure process is referred to as “judicial foreclosure.” Judicial foreclosure begins when the lender files with the court to request a foreclosure sale. Once the lawsuit has been filed with the court, you have 20 days to file your answer to the lawsuit with the court. If you do not speak up during this process, the foreclosure process won’t go away – it will only get worse! When you don’t respond, your lender will ask the court to grant a default judgement and if granted, they will be given permission to go ahead with the foreclosure sale.
If you do respond to the lawsuit filed by your lender you will go through the court process. If there is no debate over the basic facts of the case, the lender will likely request a summary judgement. The summary judgement is a request to the court asking that the case be found in favor of the lender. If the court finds in favor of the lender, your home will go into a foreclosure auction.
Q: What is Expedited Foreclosure?
A: The expedited foreclosure process is a process designed to speed along the foreclosure process when no one has contested the case or when there is no legitimate defense. During the expedited foreclosure process, the plaintiff may not get a deficiency judgement.
Are You In Need of Florida Foreclosure Help?
If you live in Florida and are in need of foreclosure assistance from a reputable and experienced law firm, Weidner Law can help! Call us today at 727-954-8752 and tell us how we can help you!