What should people understand about foreclosure in Florida?

Homeowners in Florida should be aware what the foreclosure process looks like, and there is a mediation program they should know about.

Florida is a unique State when it comes to the way foreclosure takes place. The timeline leading to the eventual requisition of the property begins once the first late charge is assessed on the homeowner's payment. The State also enacted a program in 2009 to provide an opportunity for mediation between the lender and the homeowner. By becoming familiar with what the process of foreclosure looks like in their state and how long someone will typically have, Floridians can be better prepared to avoid the undesired ending result of losing their homes.

The basic timeline

The foreclosure process begins with a missed payment, and can last over a year before the house is finally repossessed. Before a mortgage is considered violated, the mortgage servicer will attempt to contact the homeowner in order to see what happened. This will happen at any point between the 16th day and the 30th day. Once it has been more than 45 days since a payment was made, the mortgage servicer will send a notice of breach to the borrower, informing them of the violation of the mortgage terms. From the date the notice is received, a period of 30 days will be allowed for the borrower to pay up the owed amount.

If it goes 30 more days and the debt is still not paid off, the servicer will refer the loan to the local foreclosure department. To begin proceeding with foreclosure, an attorney is hired to initiate the process. A representative of the servicer may attend hearings on the case, and is also able to publish the debt, including any details about it in the local newspaper. It is also possible for the representative to put a formal notice of the foreclosure into record with the court.

The mediating process in Florida

Once foreclosure proceedings have begun, the house will be auctioned off. Depending on the circumstances, the borrower may have up to a year to gather enough funds to pay off the debt. Florida is a State where this can take longer than in others. This is because of an administrative order that was approved in the State legislature from 2009 known as "CHAMP" (Circuit Homestead Access to Mediation Program). Through this program, homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure will be referred to the Collins Center for Public Policy, an organization that will help them find a resolution with the lender before any court proceedings are filed. The law is written in such a way that collectors cannot bypass this mediating process without first notifying the Collins Center. This policy gives homeowners more time to resolve their debts before any motions for foreclosure can be heard by the court.

Anyone in Florida who is at risk of foreclosure or who has been unable to make their mortgage payment will come under fire from the lender at some point soon. Those who are facing these circumstances may find that an attorney in the local area who practices bankruptcy law may be able to help them. When it comes to protecting your property in bankruptcy, Florida has one of the most generous homestead exemptions in the country.