Gov. Scott signs bill to make foreclosures quicker

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida is second in the nation in foreclosures. Last week the governor signed a bill making it quicker for banks to foreclose, shortening the length of time a homeowner has to fight the bank.

Homeowners advocates say the bill will negatively affect homeowners dealing with hardships though.

But that bill is now the law in Florida.

"It's going to help make sure we have a timely foreclosure process so our families make sure they can keep their homes," said Scott.

Scott said the bill will help put abandoned homes back on the market. The Florida Bankers Association says it will help rejuvenate the economy.

"Our members do not want to foreclose, but when we have to get to that point, we need to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Anthony DiMarco, of Florida Bankers Association.

Homeowner advocates say the bill is unconstitutional, making it difficult for a person to save their home if they have difficulties paying their mortgage.

"In the long run, it's going to limit homeowners rights when they try to defend a foreclosure on their home." said Edward Grunewald, of the North Florida Center For Equal Justice Inc.

Bankers counter that homeowners have plenty of time before banks start foreclosing.

"We don't start a foreclosure until four, five, six months after you've missed your first payment. We've tried to work with the borrower so they have the opportunity for several months," said DiMarco.

Florida courts have dealt with extreme numbers of foreclosures due to the housing bust. Earlier this year there were a little less than 400,000 cases in the system.

Advocates say with a shorter time frame, banks may file inaccurate papers against a homeowner.

"If the homeowner doesn't have the time to get adequate defense or legal help, then the bank will never have to prove they are the proper party to be suing in foreclosure," said Grunewald.

Scott also signed a bill which will allow landlords to evict tenants more quickly after accepting a partial rent payment.

At the end of May, 52 percent of people who called on the bill supported the foreclosure bill, while 48 percent opposed it.

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