New Florida Law Sneaks Under the Radar

BE CAREFUL HOW AND WHEN YOU FILE BANKRUPTCY PETITIONS

Governor Scott, admits 30 other bills signed SB 220 into law. You can barely find it using search engines. The law is   confusing at best and probably unconstitutional but here it is.

The new law makes BKR filings by Petitioner into presumptions in judicial foreclosures — but only the filings of the Petitioner (raising all sorts of constitutional issues). The filings by parties claiming to be creditors do not raise the same presumption unless other legal presumptions should be applied.

So now foreclosing parties can use the filings of the Petitioner against himself. As I have repeatedly stated, BKR filings by homeowners are generally misleading or wrong. Petitioners are admitting the lien and they temporarily surrender the property. The usual computer program that creates the Petition and schedules of bankruptcy makes it difficult to file anything but the wrong schedules.

This new law enables banks and servicers to use the interim period where the home is technically owned by U.S. Trustee in Bankruptcy, disregarding the fact that the Trustee typically abandons any such interest by the end of the BKR proceedings. The logic is the homeowner lacks standing to raise defenses because he/she has surrendered the  property to the court. It gets even worse when the schedules admit the debt and admit the security instrument. ALL OF THIS CAN BE USED AS PRESUMPTIVE (AND TREATED AS CONCLUSIVE) EVIDENCE IN FORECLOSURE PROCEEDINGS.

Bottom Line: Florida has enacted a law that is out of context and fails to treat debtors and creditors equally with respect to their filings in bankruptcy court. Homeowners in bankruptcy might be blocked from using the proceeding to stop a foreclosure, although the party claiming the status of “creditor” must still apply to lift the stay. Under the new law, the filing of a BKR petition  would essentially be a confession of judgment in foreclosure judicial proceedings blocking homeowners from raising any meritorious defenses because they no longer own the property.

Meanwhile the property records still show the homeowner as owner, and will continue to do so until the foreclosure judgment is entered and the judicial sale is complete together with a certificate of title to the bidder, who in most cases is a sham creditor claiming the right to submit a sham credit bid instead of paying for the home.

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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

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see New Florida Law Traps Homeowners Who File for Bankruptcy Protection

So instead of getting protection from creditors, a Petitioner for Bankruptcy Relief gets the opposite -screwed out of meritorious defenses. This is what happens when nobody is watching and we keep voting for people who will vote or sign for any legislation against the homeowners and for the banks.

This is a law of evidence and until challenged, ruled unconstitutional or invalid, it MUST be followed by judges unless the judge in a foreclosure case rules the new Florida law is invalid. Good luck with that. Not likely.

PRACTICE POINTER: I have often seen Proofs of Claim (and exhibits attached thereto) filed for parties claiming to be creditors that differ materially from the filings in the court where the foreclosure is being heard. Those too could be admissions under existing rules of evidence. POCs are generally sworn documents.

And also keep in mind that if a creditor doesn’t file a timely proof of claim the debtor can file one for the creditor which can say almost anything. If your schedules don’t list a creditor with a secured interest and instead show that you don’t admit this party has that status many people have found that there is no admission that an be used in other courts.

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702.12 Actions in foreclosure.— 19

(1)(a) A lienholder, in an action to foreclose a mortgage, 20 may submit any document the defendant filed under penalty of 21 perjury in the defendant’s bankruptcy case for use as an 22 admission by the defendant. 23

(b) A rebuttable presumption that the defendant has waived 24 any defense to the foreclosure is created if a lienholder 25 submits documents filed in the defendant’s bankruptcy case 26 which: 27

1. Evidence the defendant’s intention to surrender to the 28 lienholder the property that is the subject of the foreclosure; 29

2. Have not been withdrawn by the defendant; and ENROLLED 2018 Legislature SB 220 2018220er Page 2 of 2 CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions. 30

3. Show that a final order has been entered in the 31 defendant’s bankruptcy case which discharges the defendant’s 32 debts or confirms the defendant’s repayment plan that provides 33 for the surrender of the property. 34

(2) Pursuant to s. 90.203, a court shall take judicial 35 notice of an order entered in a bankruptcy case upon the request 36 of a lienholder. 37

(3) This section does not preclude the defendant in a 38 foreclosure action from raising a defense based upon the 39 lienholder’s action or inaction subsequent to the filing of the 40 document filed in the bankruptcy case which evidenced the 41 defendant’s intention to surrender the mortgaged property to the 42 lienholder. 43

(4) This section applies to any foreclosure action filed on 44 or after October 1, 2018. 45 Section 2. This act shall take effect October 1, 2018.

 

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