The Florida Supreme Court is in the final stages of determining when the clock starts ticking on mortgage foreclosure cases. In the case of Bartram v. U.S. Bank, the now defunct law firm of David J. Stern filed a mortgage foreclosure lawsuit against Lewis Bartram of Ponte Vedra Beach back in 2006. Years later, after the law firm shut down, with tens of thousands of foreclosure cases in limbo, U.S. Bank missed a case management conference and its foreclosure case was dismissed.
Thanks to the five-year statute of limitations on mortgage foreclosures, the case was revived and Bartram received another favorable judgment. But U.S. Bank appealed that ruling, and in 2014 Florida’s Fifth District Court ruled in favor of the bank, disregarding Florida’s five-year statute of limitations on mortgage foreclosures.
This was a sad day for struggling homeowners and a victory for the banks in Florida who continue to foreclose on loans that defaulted years ago. Many of those loans are referred to as “zombie mortgages,” or a foreclosure that has been started but not completed.
The issue in this case comes down to mortgage acceleration. Most mortgage contracts carry an acceleration clause, which allows the lender to sue for the entire loan amount immediately, starting a five-year clock on the foreclosure process. But the Fifth District ruled that the court’s dismissal of U.S. Bank’s lawsuit in 2011 negated the loan’s original acceleration date that had been set in 2006, effectively resetting the acceleration date to 2011.
Two other Florida courts have issued similar rulings that uphold the Fifth District decision, but a court in Miami recently ruled against it, leaving it up to Florida’s Supreme Court to decide. We will keep you posted – A ruling on this case is expected in the next couple of months.
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Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.