Court changes speed up Fla. foreclosures - WFLA News Channel 8

Court changes speed up Fla. foreclosures

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Picture of Tallahassee homes Picture of Tallahassee homes
Thomas McGrady, Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, talks about the new division Thomas McGrady, Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, talks about the new division
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Florida has a backlog of 400,000 foreclosure cases. 

For some homeowners, that has meant living rent-free for years, while they wait for their day in court.  But that's about to change.

It takes, on average, 900 days for a lender to take back a home in Florida. That lag time gives struggling homeowners time to figure out what's next.

But it also burdens the court system.

"We would like truly to have a resolution to these cases within a year," said Thomas McGrady, Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, which includes Pinellas and Pasco counties.

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill last week to speed up the process. He says the delays leave vacant homes that hurt property values. McGrady, of the sixth judicial circuit, is taking the bill a step further.

He's creating a new division to hear the more than 29,000 old cases in Pinellas and Pasco counties. McGrady met with lawyers to explain the changes and go over how the new bill affects foreclosures.

One of the big changes, he warns, is that foreclosures will now be final. Once your house is foreclosed and sold, not even a judge can give it back to you.

"Take every opportunity you can for remediation to resolve the case without having a lengthy trial process," said Judge McGrady.

The new foreclosure bill is effective immediately.  The Sixth Judicial Circuit changes will be phased in this summer.

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