Recently, the Florida Supreme Court issued an administrative order which requires mediation in all foreclosure cases. This comes in response to the mass of foreclosure filings. It is estimated that over there are over 450,000 foreclosure cases statewide and over 50,000 cases in the bay area.
The new mediation rules will only apply to homestead residential properties and the program is not retroactive to existing foreclosure cases.
Under order mediation managers must schedule sessions no earlier than 60 days and no later than 120 days after a foreclosure suit is filed. After attending mandatory foreclosure counseling, homeowners should bring tax forms, pay stubs, bank statements and credit reports to mediation.
Lenders must pay the $750 fee, but can recover the money if mediation results in an impasse and the foreclosure suit continues.
The court order comes from a recommendation by the Supreme Court's Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases.
Prior to this statewide foreclosure mediation program, the Sixth Judicial Circuit implemented a similar mediation program for foreclosure cases. As foreclosure filings continue to pile up in Pinellas and Pasco counties, the courts have implemented a new mediation program.