Executive Assistant: Laura Bennett
P. O. Box 2469, Ft. Myers, FL 33902
or 1700 Monroe Street, Ft. Myers, FL 33901
Telephone (239) 533-5000 (main)

Move is on for non-court Florida foreclosures

A proposal by the Florida Bankers Association to allow foreclosures without a court hearing is arousing violent sentiments on both sides of the issue in Southwest Florida.

Proponents say so-called “non-judicial” foreclosure, which would take as little as four months, could help clear a glut of court cases and speed the recovery of the housing market.

Opponents say it’s a way for banks to take people’s houses without legal safeguards built into the court system – even when a lender’s claim to foreclose is shaky.

“They’re trying to keep people from their day in court,” said real estate agent Jeff Tumbarello, who tracks foreclosures in Lee County and is director of the Southwest Florida Real Estate Association.

“They’d prefer not to face a judge with what they do to people,” Tumbarello said.

He noted that in recent court cases, judges in Florida have thrown out foreclosure suits because the bank couldn’t prove it owned the loan.

But county Clerk of Court Charlie Green, who’s struggling to stay ahead of a flood of new foreclosures and a 23,000-case backload, said “there should be a way to foreclose quickly against deadbeats who are destroying neighborhoods by neglecting or abandoning their homes”.

“There are people who have not made any payments, any effort to pay, and they’ve been living there a year to a year and a half and not helping anybody,” he said. “I agree with the banks: Those people need to go.

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