What is the 20-day rule?
The Florida foreclosure laws are written to favor the homeowner in many ways. One of the favorable aspects is the fact that the bank is required to carry out the full process of a judicial foreclosure, which means that they cannot simply foreclose on the home after you have gone into default. Instead, they must go to court to file a lis pendens against you, which serves as a public notice that you are being sued for a foreclosure judgment. You will be served with a summons and complaint, after which you will have only 20 days to take action to contest the foreclosure.
Florida's 20-day rule allows you a brief period of time in which you can hire a Jacksonville foreclosure defense attorney to prepare your case and get ready to contest the case in court. Before the 20-day period has run out, you must file your answer to the plaintiff's complaint. Otherwise, the lender is likely to be able to obtain a default judgment against you, effectively winning the case due to your failure to put up a fight. The answer to the complaint may focus on invalidating the basis for the foreclosure, such as by disputing the contention that you are in default on your mortgage payments, or you might instead challenge the bank to produce the necessary documentation to prove that they own the mortgage and have a lien on you property – something which often cannot be done due to the fact that mortgages are frequently chopped up and packaged together with others in order to sell mortgage-backed securities.
Keep the Case Out of Court
Another approach to stopping foreclosure before the 20-day period runs out is to have your lawyer contact the lender with the goal of negotiating one of the alternatives to foreclosure. Because the average foreclosure may cost the bank tens of thousands of dollars, they will often be willing to entertain a request for a short sale, deed in lieu, or loan modification, provided that you take action as early as possible. Don't wait another moment before contacting us at The Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A. We strongly encourage you to meet with us for a free consultation so that we can review your current situation and begin working on a strategy for helping you avoid the serious consequences of a foreclosure.