Econintersect: An article today in the St. Petersburg Times reveals a move is underway to remove foreclosures from the judicial process. It is actually a process that is already used in 30 states, including Michigan, Arizona, California and Nevada. These states, along with Florida, have the highest foreclosure rates in the country. The proponents of the non-judicial process in Florida point out that the average foreclosure process takes far longer on Florida than in the other high foreclosure states.The opponents of the change say that property owners will be put at the mercy of the banks. The advantages were presented by a Florida state economist. From the St. Petersburg Times:
… the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday heard a presentation on foreclosures detailing states that include courts in the process versus those that don’t.
Bottom line: Foreclosures take longer and are more expensive in states that involve courts, said state economist Amy Baker.
“I don’t want to leave you with the impression that the data suggests the judicial process is a terrible process,” Baker told lawmakers. “It’s actually ultimately a policy decision on where you want the burden to be, where you want the rights protection to be.”
Leaders in Florida’s government have expressed possible interest in removing judges from the process, including Gov. Rick Scott, House Speaker Dean Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos.
Spokesmen for and against the proposal are quoted by the St. Petersburg Times:
In 2010, the Florida Bankers Association pushed unsuccessfully to change the state’s law so judges didn’t need to sign off on foreclosures.
Much of the state’s housing crisis is caused by a glut of homes awaiting foreclosure, said Anthony DiMarco, executive vice president of government relations for the association.
“If you can move more quickly, properties can get back on the market, and it will stimulate the economy,” he said. “You won’t have blight. Property taxes will get paid. Condo fees and homeowners association fees will be paid. People will buy paint and furniture.”
But state Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, who fought the 2010 legislation, said he will fight it again if it returns in 2012.
“I don’t think we need to be replacing people’s rights with expediency, particularly when we’re talking about property rights,” said Soto, a lawyer who represents homeowners facing foreclosure. “This is a homesteader’s right to access the courts. I can’t think of any property right more important.”
Source: Tampa Bay.com
Hat tip to Vote TL (Seeking Alpha).