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

Time to respond

If foreclosing party asks for an order to show cause why the foreclosure should not proceed, homeowner has 21 days to respond after personal service or 31 days after the date notice is first published. Foreclosing party must publish notice of sale for two consecutive weeks at least five days before sale. Under local rules, courts have power to stay foreclosure proceedings pending mediation.

Reinstatement of loan before sale

Available for high-cost loans. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 494.00794 

Redemption after sale

Available until the court clerk files a certificate of sale or as specified in the judgment.

Special protections for foreclosures involving high-cost mortgages

Protections apply to high-cost loans as defined in HOEPA (see Ch. 7). Florida Fair Lending Act, Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 494.0079, 494.00794

Special state protections for service members

Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 250.5201 to 250.5205

Deficiency judgments

Allowed if homeowner is personally served in foreclosure lawsuit. Court has flexibility regarding amount of deficiency, regardless of the type of mortgage involved. Foreclosing party may also file a separate lawsuit for breach of contract against homeowner for a deficiency, except that an original lender who ends up with the property at the foreclosure sale can’t sue homeowner on a mortgage used to buy the house.

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

In Florida, 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. After the certificate of title is issued, the lender/servicer 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. §§ 701.10, 45.031 and 45.0315

by: , J.D.

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