Slow start for Florida’s foreclosure mediation program

Florida homeowners seeking relief under the state’s foreclosure mediation program were disappointed, according to new report, that says only a small percentage of mediations were successful. So far, the process doesn’t seem to have helped.

The first statewide report on the Supreme Court’s foreclosure mediation program is out, and at least one South Florida judge says the program is neither helping homeowners nor clearing caseloads.

About 4 percent of 57,909 foreclosure cases referred to mediation between March and November 2010 ended in agreement between the bank and borrower, according to the program evaluation, which included all 20 circuit courts.

The success rate is higher — 27 percent — if only mediations that actually occurred are considered.

The report, released on this week, was compiled by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.

Mediation was required by a 2009 state Supreme Court order as a way to lighten judicial caseloads, as well as aid borrowers — objectives Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey said have not been achieved.

“I think it’s fair to say the program has not met the case management goals we hoped to meet in terms of reducing the number of cases to be handled by the court, and, more importantly, it has not significantly helped Floridians stay in their houses,” said Bailey, who served as chairwoman of Florida’s Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases. “It is incredibly disheartening.”

Florida requires that every foreclosure go through the courts, which had a backlog of 322,724 cases as of February.

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About Blick Law

Public Relations Specialist
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