One of the frequently asked questions regarding the foreclosure process in Florida and the Florida foreclosure process timeline is how long cases take and what the various reasons are for delays in litigation. Judges and litigators often bemoan the fact that foreclosure cases in Florida can take several years. Yet much of the blame typically falls on Florida foreclosure defense attorneys. Now a recent advocacy piece in the Connecticut Post suggested some interesting changes that could speed up the foreclosure process in Florida.
Most notably, the Connecticut attorney argues that:
“Lenders or their servicers have to be held accountable for inexcusable delays. The ‘disconnect’ between lender litigation departments and modification departments has to be eliminated.
With these two sentences, the advocate has hit upon one of the core causes for delays in the Florida foreclosure process and the lengthening of the Florida Foreclosure Timeline. One of the primary causes for cases that have gone to final judgment having auctions delayed is that lenders and servicers cannot complete proposed settlements in a timely fashion. Day after day we appear in courts where banks and homeowners’ attorneys plead with courts for just a few more months so that a final settlement, whether in the form of a short sale or a modification, can be reached.
However, we have heard judges say that a bank’s failure to timely respond to settlement inquiries or to finalize any agreement is “not their problem.” While it is generally true that judges cannot sanction parties for a failure to settle, the Connecticut attorney’s article raises an interesting possibility: that rather than set cases for trials en masse, courts may spur along more settlements and quicker cases, if banks and lenders actually feared sanctions from courts for not timely processing settlement documents. In that respect, we can say from the vast majority of our foreclosure cases that the Florida foreclosure process timeline would shrink vastly if banks were forced to process settlement paperwork more swiftly.