The mortgage crisis in 2007 forced many homeowners in Florida and throughout the nation to find ways to keep their homes. Home foreclosure activity continued to rise in the state, according to a property and real estate data provider. However, there is a positive trend occurring in the industry, particularly in Southwest Florida.
Homeowners in Florida and around the country work each month to pay their mortgages and remain in their homes. In difficult financial situations, some may seek loan modifications to reduce the amount of monthly mortgage payments. Others may choose to file for bankruptcy in order to keep their home but start with a clean slate to rebuild financial stability. Recently, a consumer affairs columnist highlighted the woes of a couple in another state that believed they had taken the necessary steps to keep their house but now face home foreclosure.
The housing market has been a big topic in the news for quite some time in Florida and all around the country. The home foreclosure rate skyrocketed when the market was in such disarray. For a period of time, Florida ranked among the top states in the nation for the number of home foreclosures. However, the rate is dropping and now has closed the gap with the national average.
A financial and consumer information company that tracks national trends has reported some encouraging news for homeowners in Florida and across the country. The level of home foreclosure inventory as well as the number of completed foreclosures has significantly decreased over the past year. The company includes all homes at some point in the foreclosure process in its definition of foreclosure inventory. Homes lost to foreclosure make up the number of completed foreclosures.
A Jacksonville representative recently filed a bill in the Florida House that would give lienholders more rights in foreclosure proceedings. The bill proposes legislation that would allow documentation from bankruptcy cases to be considered in home foreclosure actions. A new section of Florida Statute, titled "Actions in Foreclosure," would be created as a result of the bill.
According to a recent report, Florida is tops in the nation. However, in this report, first place was not the ranking Floridians would have chosen for their state. In the past year, Florida led the nation in home foreclosure activity. Studies show that 12 percent of all foreclosures completed in the country occurred in Florida. While Florida had the highest level, the number of foreclosures actually declined in the last 12 months.
Under the federal Bankruptcy Code, consumers have an opportunity to regain financial stability. However, provisions exist to prevent repeat bankruptcy filings to stop home foreclosure without an attempt to achieve economic rehabilitation. When homeowners nationwide, including in Florida, file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay stops foreclosure and other collection activities.
Some Florida residents might remember Sonny West, who was Elvis Presley's bodyguard and best friend. He is now 78 years old, and his health is failing. Since he was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer, his medical bills have reached the level where he is now in danger of home foreclosure.
The Florida Supreme Court recently made a ruling that could potentially affect thousands of people across the state. Up until recently, lenders had five years to bring a home foreclosure action. However, the state's highest court recently ruled that the statute of limitations no longer applies.
Bankruptcy can be a useful tool for Florida homeowners who have gotten behind on their payments. Filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop a home foreclosure action in its tracks, but there are caveats. It might be possible for your mortgage lender to resume the foreclosure with the permission of the bankruptcy court.