While HB87 continues through the Florida statehouse, the foreclosure reform bill filed by State Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, Florida State Senator Darren Soto has now filed not one or two, but four separate foreclosure-related bills up in Tallahassee.
Soto is opposed to Passidomo's bill and he's issued a statement decrying Florida's current status as first in the country for foreclosures as "shameful." So, he's filed four proposed laws and he's also working with another state senator to file one more: the proposed "Florida Mortgage Collection Fairness Act," Senate Bill 1218 (SB1218).
All of which means that things are getting tense up in Tallahassee on how to deal with the huge number of foreclosure lawsuits that are clogging up the Florida judicial system.
Here is a synopsis of the four proposed laws (click the lengths to read all the details at the Florida Senate site as well as checking the status of these bills as they move through the process):
1. Senate Bill 1226 (SB 1226)
Homestead Foreclosure Relief. Providing for application to homestead property mortgaged within a certain time period; providing a statute of limitations for entering a deficiency judgment; limiting the time period the lienholder can collect moneys owed; providing that the collection time may be tolled if the debtor commits fraud or if the debtor is held in contempt of court, etc.
2. Senate Bill (SB 1236)
Mortgage Principal Reduction Program. Creating the “Mortgage Principal Reduction Act”; requiring that the Florida Housing Finance Corporation apply to the United States Department of the Treasury by a specified date to request funds not to exceed a specified amount from the federal Hardest-Hit Fund program to establish a new state program to reduce the principal on mortgages for persons whose homestead property in this state is in foreclosure; requiring the corporation to use the allocated funds to purchase delinquent mortgages on such property from lenders at a discount to reduce the mortgage principal amount due on the mortgage, etc.
3. Senate Bill (1218)
Residential Foreclosure Proceedings. Citing this act as the "Florida Mortgage Collection Fairness Act"; prohibiting a mortgage collection firm from offering false evidence in a mortgage foreclosure proceeding; providing that a violation is a deceptive and unfair trade practice; providing penalties and remedies; providing for the award of attorney fees and costs under certain circumstances, etc.
4. Senate Bill (1228)
Short Sale Debt Relief. Creating the “Short Sale Debt Relief Act”; providing that a debtor does not owe a deficiency to a lienholder related to an eligible real property sold pursuant to a bona fide short sale if an offer is received by a debtor within a specified time period and under specified conditions; requiring a lienholder to approve the short sale of property and execute any document necessary to close the sale within a specified time period if a debtor procures a buyer who makes an offer in writing equal to the fair market value of the eligible property, etc.