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Florida Mortgage Foreclosure Deficiency Lawsuits

February 3rd, 2015

Posted in General Practice,Real Estate Law

Procedurally, the State of Florida treats deficiency judgments on foreclosed residential homes differently than the foreclosure actions themselves.  Although the deficiency judgment may seem like an extenuation of the foreclosure action to homeowners, the reality is that a deficiency judgment action is its own legal proceeding.  In fact, the deficiency judgment cannot even take place until after the sale on the subject property.  That’s because a deficiency judgment action is filed by the lender to collect, in general, the difference between the amount owed by the borrower and the fair market value.  Recently, the State of Florida made a few changes to the procedural rules that govern deficiency judgments on real property that further distinguish deficiency actions from foreclosure actions.

One of those changes, altering the statute of limitations for deficiency actions, affects the amount of time a lender has to bring the deficiency action.  This change affects both lenders and homeowners.  For any foreclosure sale that occurred on or after July 1, 2013, the lender must bring a deficiency judgment within one year.  That one-year period commences the day after the date on which the certificate is issued for the property by the clerk of the court or the day after the mortgagee accepts the deed in lieu of foreclosure.[1]  Alternatively, if the foreclosure occurred before July 1, 2013, the statute of limitations was altered to accommodate the new procedural rule above.  In the case of a foreclosure that occurred before July 1, 2013, the lender must have brought the deficiency action the earlier of five years from the foreclosure date or July 1, 2014.  Therefore, if your home was sold at a Florida foreclosure sale before July 1, 2013 and the lender has not yet filed a deficiency judgment against any outstanding amount after that sale, you may find relief in the new Florida procedural rules.

[1] Section 95.11(5)(h), Florida Statutes (2014).

 

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