It looks like the enormous logjam of foreclosures in Florida isn’t going to be cleaned up anytime soon. With almost 400,000 cases backlogged at this time and more coming in every day, some are estimating that it may be ten years before this mess is completely cleaned up. There’s enough finger pointing going on as it is with regard to who is responsible, but now the homeowners themselves have figured out a way to delay the process even more, insuring that they can stay in the house for up to a year longer.
Florida courts continue to struggle with a backlog of more than 368,000 pending cases, according to Jane Bond, a Florida foreclosure attorney at McCalla Raymer. It’s a nightmare, attorneys say — one with no end in sight.
“It’s not as bad as it seems. It’s much, much worse,” said David Rodstein, a foreclosure attorney with the Rodstein Law Group.
Bond and Rodstein chaired a panel at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual mortgage servicing conference in Orlando, Fla. The state is suffering from an ailing housing market. Home prices dropped 41% from 2006. Nearly half of all borrowers are underwater. Distressed properties abound. Unemployment is at 9.9%. And as it tries to clear the backlog of foreclosures, the state is going nowhere fast.
“The judges are frustrated. The attorneys are frustrated. The servicers are frustrated. Everyone is frustrated,” Bond said.
The average foreclosure in Florida takes nearly 800 days to complete, more than twice the national average, according to RealtyTrac.
Rodstein said 40% of foreclosures filed by servicers are contested by the borrower because of a very efficient bar system in the state. It’s helped create a cottage industry of delays, displacing an earlier system not any fairer.
“Borrowers can hire these attorneys for a small monthly payment — much less than the mortgage — and the attorney can come in and easily delay the case for year plus,” Rodstein said.
But the delay recently has much to do with some attorneys’ own mistakes.
The story of Florida’s foreclosures will be one for the History books. The final chapter hasn’t been written yet and won’t be for a long time.
Filed under: Real Estate
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