Summary of Florida's Foreclosure Laws

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If you are facing foreclosure in Florida, it’s important to understand some of the basics, including:

  • the most common type of foreclosure procedure (judicial v. nonjudicial) used in Florida
  • how much time you have to respond
  • your rights and protections in the process, and
  • what happens afterwards (for example, whether you’ll be liable for a deficiency judgment).

Below we have outlined some of the most important features of Florida foreclosure law. Keep in mind that this is just a summary; we’ve included statute citations so you can get more details from the laws themselves. And be sure to check out Nolo’s extensive Foreclosure section, where you can find information about all aspects of foreclosure, definitions of foreclosure terms (like redemption and reinstatement), and options to avoid foreclosure.

Topic

State Rule

Most common type of foreclosure process

Judicial

Notice of the foreclosure

Borrower gets 20 days to respond to complaint. Foreclosing party must publish notice of sale in a newspaper for two consecutive weeks at least five days before sale. The judge has the discretion to refer foreclosure for mediation as permitted by law.

Reinstatement of loan before sale

Not available (except as permitted by the terms of the mortgage)

Redemption after sale

Available until the court clerk files a certificate of sale or as specified in the judgment, whichever is later

Special protections for foreclosures involving high-cost mortgages

None

Special state protections for service members

If military service member took out the mortgage before going on active duty (state or federal), lender cannot foreclose during the time of service or within 30 days thereafter unless a court issues an order ahead of time allowing it. Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 250.5201 to 250.5205

Deficiency judgments

Allowed as part of the foreclosure action if borrower is personally served. The deficiency judgment is within the sound discretion of the court; however, in the case of an owner-occupied residential property, the amount may not exceed the difference between the judgment amount and the fair market value of the property on the date of sale. Foreclosing party may also file a separate lawsuit for a deficiency. Foreclosing party has one year to request the deficiency judgment.

Cash exempted in bankruptcy

Up to $5,000 ($10,000 if married filing jointly) under state bankruptcy exemptions

Notice to leave after house is sold

The eviction process is part of the foreclosure action and the right to possession is included in the judgment. It is not usually necessary to file an independent action for possession. The foreclosing party files a motion for a writ of possession. When the motion is granted, the clerk of court issues the writ of possession and the sheriff posts the writ to the property. (The writ gives 24 hours to move out.) If the occupant does not vacate, the sheriff executes the order.

Foreclosure statutes

Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 702.01 through 702.11, 45.031 and 45.0315

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