Bill passes to speed mortgage foreclosure system

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida House voted overwhelmingly Monday to speed up the residential mortgage foreclosure process in a state that was swamped by a rising number of homes taken back by banks during the housing crisis.

Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said her bill preserves due-process rights for distressed homeowners while trying to stimulate Florida’s real-estate market by getting foreclosed property “back into the stream of commerce.”

The measure (HB 87) passed on an 87-26 vote but its fate is uncertain. The Senate is considering similar legislation as Florida lawmakers face a Friday deadline to pass bills in their 60-day session.

The Sunshine State was one of the hardest hit by the national collapse in the real estate market that began in 2008. Those foreclosure cases quickly swamped an already overworked court system.

“Until we do something regarding the foreclosure issue in this state, lenders will continue to be hurt, borrowers will continue to be hurt and the economy of the state of Florida will continue to be hurt,” said Rep. Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville.

The legislation would make banks prove in more detail that they own a mortgage or explain why they can’t prove ownership. It also creates a process for others besides mortgage-holders to ask the court to speed up foreclosure cases.

Rest here…