Florida courts are still backlogged with foreclosure cases. They have been for the past couple of years now. In a new attempt to speed foreclosures through the judicial system, the House of Representatives introduced HB 213. Of particular note for lien holders of the subject property, the bill would provide a mechanism to accelerate the foreclosure process. If passed, it would read:
702.10 Order to show cause; entry of final judgment of foreclosure; payment during foreclosure.
(1) Any lienholder may request an order to show cause for the entry of final judgment in a foreclosure action. For purposes of this section, the term “lienholder” includes the plaintiff and any defendant to the action who holds a lien encumbering the property or any defendant who, by virtue of its status as a condominium association, cooperative association, or homeowners’ association, may file a lien against the real property subject to foreclosure. Upon filing, the court shall immediately review the request and the court file in chambers and without a hearing. If, upon examination of the court file the court finds that the complaint is verified, complies with s. 702.12, and alleges a cause of action to foreclose on real property, the court shall promptly issue an order directed to the other parties named in the action to show cause why a final judgment of foreclosure should not be entered.
According to the bill’s definition, “lienholders” include condo and homeowners’ associations (they have lien rights for assessments and fees due on properties part of the associations) and municipalities (they have lien rights for unpaid utilities, assessments, improvements, etc.). Click here to read about the source of their lien power.
HB 213 would allow lienors to ask the foreclosure judge for an Order to Show Cause, which if granted would essentially force the parties to explain why the the court should not enter a final judgment of foreclosure disposing of the case immediately.
Not only will the parties be able to move the case forward via an Order to Show Cause motion, but they will also be able to 1) move to default co-defendants who never responded to the complaint and 2) request a case management conference where a timetable of dates would be entered to keep the case on track.
I’ve personally experienced cases where foreclosing plaintiff-banks did absolutely nothing to move their cases forward, leaving my former clients, like HOAs, in limbo with unpaid assessments growing by the day. It would have been empowering to take charge of those cases and force them to a disposition. If HB213 passes, that can be done.
Stay tuned for more info on HB213 and what it means for new owners of abandoned properties.