As most of its resident homeowners know, Florida leads the nation in foreclosure filings. Foreclosures in Florida are judicial, which requires that a lender file a lawsuit in state court. The lender files and serves a complaint in order for the court to enter a judgment of foreclosure and allow the property to be sold to satisfy the mortgage debt.
A lender may also sue other parties of interest in a foreclosure action, such as junior lienholders, co-borrowers, or unknown tenants that may have a leasehold interest in the property. The foreclosure process is initiated by the lender filing the complaint in a Florida court and serving it with a summons on the borrower.
After receiving the complaint and summons, a borrower has twenty (20) days to respond to the foreclosure complaint. At this time, it is crucial to enlist the services of a qualified foreclosure defense attorney. At Loan Lawyers, our South Florida consumer rights and foreclosure defense attorneys help individuals with problems related to the payment of their mortgage and foreclosure.
It is important that a borrower answer the lender’s complaint. Otherwise, the lender may obtain a default judgment from the court. An experienced foreclosure defense attorney may help a borrower answer the complaint and allege any applicable affirmative defenses to the foreclosure.
Once an answer is filed, a knowledgeable foreclosure defense attorney may engage in discovery to further establish the presence of already-determined or currently unknown defenses to the foreclosure. A lender will typically file a motion for summary judgment, which may be granted of the lender is able to prove that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the lender is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In this situation, an experienced and skilled foreclosure defense attorney may be able to present a genuine issue of material fact sufficient to preclude entry of judgment and cause the case to go to trial.
If the lender prevails at summary judgment or trial, the court grants a final judgment of foreclosure setting a foreclosure sale date of the subject property. Normally, the sale is not sooner than 30 days from entry of judgment, although the court may, at its discretion, extend the time for the sale, typically to 60 or 90 days after entry of judgment.
The foreclosure sale may be extended by the court upon proper motion for equitable reasons such as a pending modification, short sale, or other loss mitigation options. A notice of foreclosure sale must be published in a newspaper for two consecutive weeks prior to the sale.
The property is sold to the highest bidder at the sale. A lender that is a “prevailing plaintiff” may “credit bid” up to the judgment amount at the foreclosure sale. The borrower then has ten days after the sale to file an objection to issuance of a certificate of title in the name of the prevailing bidder. After ten days, a certificate of title is issued and recorded in the public records. The court also issues a certificate of disbursements describing how the sale’s proceeds were allocated.
If you are facing foreclosure and require assistance with this and loss mitigation, contact our Fort Lauderdale foreclosure attorneys office today by calling 954-523-HELP (4357) and see how we can help.