Court Ordered Foreclosure Mediation Program-Good for Everyone


The 6th Judicial Circuit Court for Pinellas and Pasco Counties recently announced the launching of a foreclosure mediation program that is hopefully going to reduce the more than 33,000 foreclosure cases currently pending on the Court’s docket, as reported by the St. Petersburg Times.  Starting this week, the first week of July, homeowners entering the foreclosure mediation program can deal directly with their lender that can lead to a solution allowing them to keep their home.  The program requires that the lenders meet with the homeowner and a certified mediator to work out a payment plan.  Options might include a loan modification, extended loan terms or a short sale.  All of these are more desirable than an outright foreclosure.  The bank does not really want to foreclose and take possession of a home any more than a homeowner wants to be foreclosed.

The Foreclosure Mediation Program is a court ordered , official and COST-FREE program. The court ordered the mediation program so that using a professionally mediated process, foreclosures may be settled before going through the full foreclosure process.  This saves the courts time and resources that are in short supply.  The court's goal is to reduce the load on the system so that foreclosures are handled in mediation and other actions can get more of the courts focus.

To qualify, a foreclosure of a homesteaded property that is filed on or after July 1 will be subject to court ordered mediation unless the homeowner declines.  For foreclosures filed prior to July, mediation is voluntary.  Lenders do not need to participate in the voluntary process.

Under the new program from the 6th Circuit Court, lenders must cover the $750 mediation fee that can be added to a foreclosure action if resolution isn’t reached. 

Florida has the nation's third highest rate of foreclosure filings, with 1 in every 174 properties.

There are more than 33,000 current foreclosure cases in Pinellas-Pasco at the moment at various stages of progress.  Just this year there have been 3,100 new residential filings for foreclosure.  There will be many more foreclosures filed in the coming months, since the housing crisis is not anywhere near over.  Under this court ordered foreclosure mediation program, homeowners in Pinellas and Pasco counties have the opportunity to get professional mediation assistance and actually deal directly with their lenders, which has been very frustrating because until this program, banks have very often ignored their  borrowers.