Orlando Senator seeks foreclosure reforms, files four bills
The bills would provide taxpayer-funded support for people who are on the verge of foreclosure, make it more difficult for banks to sue homeowners for additional debt after a foreclosure and crack down on lenders who use false documents in court.
They stand in contrast to another bill that seeks to speed up the foreclosure process, which can take an average of more than two years in
Soto, who led the protests against Passidomo’s 2012 bill, said his proposals are aimed at taking the state in the opposite direction when it comes to foreclosures.
“These bills represent a vision for resolving the foreclosure crisis where we work with families to save their homes and make them more affordable as well as provide meaningful debt relief,” he said in a statement. “This vision stands in stark contrast to the numerous bills filed over the past few years with the sole intention of kicking thousands of
Soto’s full statement is below:
Soto Continues to Fight for Florida’s Families in Foreclosure
Tallahassee – As Florida continues to maintain its shameful distinction as first in the nation for housing foreclosures, state Senator Darren Soto (D-Orlando) announced Wednesday his filing of four bills intended to better help Floridians save their homes and protect them from unscrupulous foreclosure practices.
“These bills represent a vision for resolving the foreclosure crisis where we work with families to save their homes and make them more affordable as well as provide meaningful debt relief,” said Senator Soto, who last year spearheaded efforts to crack down on foreclosure mills. “This vision stands in stark contrast to the numerous bills filed over the past few years with the sole intention of kicking thousands of
Soto filed Senate Bill 1236, the “Mortgage Principal Reduction Act,” which would require the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to apply for $100 million of the federal government’s Hardest-Hit Fund program in order to begin a mortgage principal reduction program for Floridians whose homestead properties are in foreclosure.
Senator Soto and Representative Joe Saunders (D-Orlando) also filed Senate Bill 1226 and House Bill 371 aimed at giving homeowners relief after having their homestead property foreclosed upon. Currently, lenders are able to file a deficiency judgment – additional debts assessed by creditors against homeowners to make up for any loss in property value from the original mortgage amount - up to 5 years after the final judgment of foreclosure. Senator Soto proposes to change that length of time to only one year. Additionally, lenders would have only two years to collect the outstanding debt, sparing homeowners from collectors’ current license to haunt them for up to two decades.
Soto will also be introducing the “Short Sale Debt Relief Act” (SB 1228), along with Representative Fullwood (D-Jacksonville). This bill will make deficiency judgments unenforceable for short sales where the original mortgagee’s debt is greater than 20% of the fair market value.
Finally, Senator Soto and Representative Jose Rodriguez (D-Miami) are working on the “