A new bill in Florida is bringing both supporters and critics as it attempts to speed up local economic recovery by also speeding up the foreclosure process. If the bill is approved homeowners currently at risk of foreclosure could face 30 day notices to vacate, a big change from way things were handled in the past.
Is Quicker Better?
Florida is currently a judicial foreclosure state, meaning the foreclosure process must be overseen by the courts. The average time it takes to complete a foreclosure in Florida is around five months, which gives homeowners more time to search for a potential solution. If the proposed Senate bill goes through, homeowners could have only 30 days to resolve their mortgage debts or be evicted.
Bill supporters say the purpose of the bill is to target the 30 percent of already foreclosed homes that are sitting abandoned and dragging down local property values. By decreasing the time it takes to foreclose on a home the future foreclosures will be able to get to auction or investors more quickly, having a rebound effect on the local housing market and economy. Senator John Thrasher says, ” [Foreclosures are] the underbelly of one of the things that is keeping our economy from recovery.”
Critics of the bill are unsure of the potential for actually reducing the current foreclosure inventory. Their main concern is the adverse effect it could have on homeowners that are still fighting to keep their homes and avoid foreclosure. “This bill places too much burden of repairing this problem on the backs of consumers and homeowners,” says Alice Vickers, attorney for the Consumer Action Network. Fortunately, the bill is likely to face several changes before reaching final stages of approval in hopes of finding common ground.