From the Disputing Blog of Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes.
In January, the Florida Supreme Court ordered mediation on all home foreclosure cases. According to Miami Today, less than half of homeowners in Miami-Dade County have complied with state-mandated mediation since January.
Miami-Dade County is one of three Florida counties that ran a managed mediation pilot program prior to the state-mandated mediation order. The Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program administered by the non-profit Collins Center for Public Policy (Collins Center) has contracted with Miami-Dade County to provide mediation services to homeowners in the county facing foreclosure. Although lenders are charged a fee, the one to two hour program is free to homeowners. In Miami-Dade County, the Collins Center sends three written notices to a homeowner and makes four phone calls regarding their option to engage in mediation once a foreclosure is filed with the courts. If a homeowner does not respond within 30 days after mediation services are offered, the Collins Center notifies the court handling the foreclosure. Only then will the court move forward with the case. Borrowers are also provided one last chance to agree to mediation if they appear in court.
Approximately 5,700 mediation meetings were completed in Miami-Dade County since the program started in May 2009 and an additional 1,100 are currently scheduled. Although less than half of homeowners in the county have complied with state-mandated mediation since January, only 24,064 foreclosure actions were filed this year against homeowners in Miami-Dade County. That number is less than half the 64,001 foreclosure cases filed in 2009. The Collins Center believes the number of homeowners pursuing the mediation option is low because it is difficult for homeowners to distinguish between legitimate and predatory foreclosure assistance programs.
Since the mediation program took effect in all of Florida, the Collins Center has held more than 8,000 mediations statewide.
You can read the entire article here.
Last week, “Disputing” discussed the mid-year statistics for the Third Circuit Court of Hawaii’s Foreclosure Mediation Pilot Project here. In contrast to the Florida program, 27 of the 31 home foreclosure cases that qualified under the Hawaii program between November 2009 and June 30, 2010 requested mediation.
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