Miami-Dade foreclosure cases stall: 50% vanish
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
Since Miami-Dade County launched a pilot program to mediate home foreclosures filed in the clogged court system seven months ago, about half the cases have stalled because mediators can't find borrowers.
Of 14,000-plus foreclosures referred to mediation to seek agreement with a lender and avoid foreclosure in court, about 7,000 haven't advanced because mediators can't reach homebuyers.
Sometimes the borrower has left the home or the address provided is wrong, said Rod Petrey, president of Collins Center for Public Policy, a non-profit running the pilot.
An area that needs work is definitely making sure lenders provide accurate contact information, Miami-Dade Civil Division Administrative Judge Jennifer Bailey says.
Of the remaining cases, about 65% have reached workouts, Mr. Petrey said.
Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Peggy Quince ordered state judges last week to try mediating all future cases before filing foreclosures.
Judge Bailey says managed mediation seeks to help people keep their homes and unclog courts inundated with foreclosures. She chaired a Supreme Court taskforce that laid the groundwork for the state order.
The aim is to make room for cases to be heard in a timely manner and resolve those that can be settled out of court without consuming already-limited judicial resources, she said.
The civil court's capacity is 30,000 to 40,000 total cases a year, Ms. Bailey said, but through November, of 86,500 filed cases 60,000 were foreclosures.
Using the metaphor of a crowded expressway, she said: "There's too much traffic for the road we have, and with the budget crisis, we can't build more roads..."