Friday, November 16, 2012

The Foreclosure Legal Process in Florida- Part I

In a series of two posts I will detail how is the foreclosure process in our state - typically begins when you miss 3-4 payments ( 3-4 months).
You can no longer make payments as required by the terms of the Note and Mortgage you signed to either finance the purchase of your property or pull equity from property through a refinance. The bank, not always, but generally is required to send you a notice which alerts you to their intent to accelerate the amounts due on the loan and initiate foreclosure if you do not "catch up" and cure the default. Depending on the terms of your mortgage contract, this notice will come at least 30 days prior to filing the foreclosure complaint.This is called DEFAULT
The lender, if they do not receive the entire balance due by the deadline outlined in their notice to you will refer the loan to an attorney to file a foreclosure action. Again, the norm is for this to be at least 30 days after the demand letter is sent to you. The attorney will also file with the County a Lis Pendens, which is a notice to the world that there is a lawsuit being filed affecting the property. This is called Complaint/Lis Pendens
Once the Complaint is filed, a copy of itis given to a process server to locate you and serve you. This is your official notice that the foreclosure has been filed and you are, assuming service was proper, under the personal jurisdiction of the court. This is usually completed within 30 days of the filing of the Complaint.This process is called Service of Process /Default
After service of the Complaint , you have 20 days to file a responsive paper or the bank, through its attorney can ask the court to default you. If you do respond, you can raise defenses, try to dismiss the case, request documents and information from the bank .This is the DEFAULT process
You have the right to a Mediation through the Collins Center. You may receive a letter from the attorney for the bank which contains the telephone number for the Collins Center. You must call and give them your name and case number and they will set you up to speak with a local agency (at Miami Dade County). The Collins Center Mortgage Mediation Program began as a Florida-based program and has been in place since the fall of 2010. The program lends a structured process for communicating with the lender, submitting financial documentation to the lender, working with a financial counselor, and meeting with the lender face-to-face with a mediator at a neutral location. At this mediation meeting you can
■Participate in the mediation program and possibly avoid foreclosure.
■Participate in a structured program where the Collins Center has direct communication with lenders.
■Benefit by reviewing offers prepared by the lender at mediation.
■Work face-to-face with their lender.
■Work with the lender in the presence of a qualified mediator.
■Stay in contact with the lender.
■Participate in financial counseling.
■Resolve the issues with the mortgage in 120 days.
■Use the Collins Center to help communicate with lenders
You can explain your hardship and try to obtain a loan modification following the guidelines for the modification programs available at that time.
By the end of the mediation meeting you should have a scenario or an answer from your lender on how to fix your defaulted loan.

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