Most laypersons are familiar with the term "statute of limitations," as it is one of the most common legal terms. A statute of limitations is a statute prescribing a period of limitation for the initiation of filing of certain kinds of legal actions.
After debts remain unpaid for a long, extended period of time, creditors may choose to file a lawsuit against a debtor to obtain a judgment. A statute of limitations applies to the debt and runs from the date of default. Once a court issues a judgment to a creditor, it is no longer subject to the statute of limitations and may collect the amount of the judgment through garnishment of wages or other methods of executing on the judgment.
In Florida, like most states, a lawsuit for the collection of a debt is based on contract law. In Florida, also like most states, the statute of limitations for pursuing the payment of debts depends upon the nature of the contract. For written contracts and debts arising from a promissory note, the statute of limitations is five years. For oral contracts and open or revolving accounts such as a credit card or line of credit, the statute of limitations is four years. Remember that the statutory limitations period runs from the date of default, rather than the date of last payment.
Florida has a five-year statute of limitations regarding foreclosures and a one-year statute of limitations for a deficiency judgment after foreclosure. Fla. Stat. § 95.11mandates that a foreclosure action must be brought within five years of default, and an action for a deficiency judgment must be brought within one year of the issuance of the certificate of title.
Prior to paying off an alleged unpaid debt or entering into an agreement to pay off such debt, an individual must verify that the debt is actually still due and payable under the applicable statute of limitations. A statute of limitations may be "tolled" by certain events such as a debtor's disability. Tolling is a legal doctrine which pauses or delays the running of the statute's period of time.The running and tolling of Florida's statutes of limitations addressing the collection of debts are complicated questions which require the assistance and analysis of a qualified collection defense attorney. At Loan Lawyers, our South Florida consumer rights and debt defense attorneys help individuals with problems related to the payment of their debts. If you are facing foreclosure and require assistance with this and loss mitigation, contact our office today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813) and see how we can help.