Foreclosure Defined

Foreclosure is the legal process of a lender or lien holder recovering the balance of a loan or lien from a borrower that has defaulted on payments. In its most common form, foreclosure happens when a homeowner stops making payments on their mortgage, but it can also occur from other sources such as various types of liens or dues. For instance, if a homeowner is behind on their homeowners' association dues, then the association may legally attempt to foreclose.

The foreclosure process is legally defined in the State of Florida by Title XL of the Florida Statutes; however, the information in the statutes is broad in scope and does nothing to define the nuances that come from legal precedent, court procedures, and the individual circumstances of the case. Some additional information may be found online, such as this article, but may become outdated or possibly be inaccurate due to the nature of the openness of the internet (sorry, Wikipedia). If you are currently or may soon be facing foreclosure, please seek the council of an experienced Foreclosure Defense Attorney to help guide you through the process. Of course, we would recommend you call us because of our experience and professionalism, but also because we provide free initial consultations so that you can decide how to proceed without the worry of additional debt.

Foreclosure Timelines

In Florida, the lender forecloses by filing a complaint and may subsequently request a hearing to show cause. Any actions prior to these do not initiate the foreclosure process, but our recommendation would be to get a free consultation as early as possible because early legal assistance may stop the foreclosure process altogether. Once a complaint is filed or a hearing is ordered it is vitally important not to ignore the complaint or hearing request because doing so may waive your rights to a defense.

The hearing request and subsequent court order initiate the defined legal timeline. The request must be verified by the court and allege a cause of action to foreclose and, once completed, the court will issue an order to the defendant (or borrower) to show cause to stop the foreclosure final judgement. The court order will stipulate a date and time for the court hearing to show cause and generally occurs between 20 and 60 days after the court issued the order. This gives the defendant a minimum of 20 days to prepare after the lender files for foreclosure. After this point the timeline varies significantly by the circumstances of the individual case, but the initial time frames are critical for a proper defense, so please seek council immediately so that you have the best possible chance for a favorable outcome.

Avoiding Foreclosure Scams

We wanted to take a brief moment to address foreclosure scams, which have become much more common place as the number of foreclosures have grown. Most foreclosure scams happen through pressured sales and vague promises by someone not claiming to be an attorney. For instance, the may call themselves a "Foreclosure Consultant" or "Loan Modification Consultant" and guarantee that they can stop a foreclosure. The easiest way to avoid scams is to seek professional help from an experienced, licensed attorney. There is also a great deal of information provided by Loan Modification Scam Alert, including effective ways to spot scams and how to report them.

A Final Note on Foreclosure Defense

It's important to know that you do have someone you can turn to if you are facing foreclosure. Obviously, you never wanted to go through the process and it can certainly be scary and uncomfortable to say the least, but if you act quickly and seek professional help, you can make it through successfully and move on with your life. We truly believe that the most important part of our job is helping people and we start by offering a free initial consultation, so that you can get your bearings early without having to worry about the cost. We recognize you have enough pressure and we don't want to add any more. So please don't hesitate, give us a call so we can help you get started.