Orlando Sentinel

An attempt to speed up foreclosures in Florida sparked outcry from both consumer advocates and bankers at a meeting in Tallahassee Thursday.

Lawmakers passed a measure that would attempt to speed up the foreclosure process, which now takes 853 days on average, by making a number of changes to the legal procedures governing the law.

The proposal, HB 87, would give lenders only one year – instead of the current five – to pursue a judgment against the homeowner if the sale of the foreclosed home fell short of the amount still owed on the loan. It would also require lenders to have all the required paperwork such as loan notes when they file a foreclosure complaint.

“We start with the complaint,” said state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, the bill’s sponsor. “It’s got to be done right. We’re telling the lenders, ‘Don’t bother filing the complaint unless you’ve got it right.’ You’ve got all the cards there so the courts can look at it. “

Passidomo’s proposal also tries to remedy a thorny legal issue where the bank that brings the foreclosure action isn’t the true holder of the mortgage note, but the house is eventually foreclosed on and sold to a new owner. In that case, the issue must be settled between the banks, and not the person who has bought the new home.

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