How has the legislature screwed Florida homeowners yet again?
In what can only be called a blunder of colossal proportions, the Florida legislature has imposed new fees on Florida foreclosure defendants that make it all but impossible for them to fight back against lenders who commit fraud, ignore federal lending regulations, or commit any other kind of wrongdoing.
The Florida Foreclosure Fraud weblog has the details, but here’s the nutshell version. Any foreclosure defendants who wants to file a counterclaim against a dirty lender – one who commits fraud, packs the loan with unlawful fees, fails to make all the required disclosures, or breaches the agreement with the borrower in any way – those homeowners have to pay a $1,900 filing fee before they can proceed with their claim.
Shutting the courthouse door on foreclosure fraud victims
You read that correctly – one thousand, nine hundred dollars. That doesn’t include attorney’s fees or any other cost of filing suit – that’s just the fee you pay to the court for the privilege of sticking the papers in the court file. Those who have fallen victim to foreclosure fraud – the ones most likely to have the kind of counterclaims that would be affected – are the least likely to have that kind of cash sitting around, waiting for the government’s outstretched palm. And if you don’t have the money? No pay, no play.
The lawmakers’ slush fund
To make matters worse, the money doesn’t go to the court system, to help hire more staff to offset the record glut of foreclosure cases. It goes into the state “general fund” – meaning that lawmakers can spend the money on just about anything they want. It’s basically a giant slush fund, built on the backs of the people who can least afford it.
To read the rest of the story, or to see the newly juiced-up fee schedule for non-foreclosure cases, head over to the Florida Foreclosure Fraud weblog.