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Mortgage Foreclosures




 

The Federal Reserve Board - 5 Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure Scams

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Are you a tenant in a home that is being foreclosed on?
Florida Statute 83.561 Termination of rental agreement upon foreclosure may assist you in understanding your rights.
 
Filing a Mortgage Foreclosure case?
The Sixth Judicial Circuit’s A.O. No. 2017-007 requires that additional documents be filed in all mortgage foreclosure cases in Pinellas County and provides changes in procedures which may affect the sale.

Additionally, pursuant to 28.241 (1)(a) 2.b, "a party shall estimate in writing the amount in controversy of the claim upon filing the action." As a convenience, we have provided this form, which may be used to estimate the value of real property or mortgage foreclosure claims.

Lis Pendens (Notice of) may be required in a foreclosure action to be placed in the public record to warn persons (such as prospective purchasers or others having an interest in the property under suit) that the title to the property is in litigation and may be bound by an adverse judgment.  The Lis Pendens must be recorded and the person filing must pay the recording fee of $5.00 for the 1st page and $4.00 for each additional page, plus $1.00 for each name over 4 names listed in the body or style of the document. (To calculate Lis Pendens fees go to the Recording Fees Calculator).

Any party that wishes to participate in mediation may file a Motion for Mediation of a residential mortgage foreclosure case in accordance with section 44.102, Florida Statutes, and Rules of Civil Procedure 1.700-1.730. The Court’s Circuit Civil Mediation Program will manage residential and commercial foreclosure cases referred to mediation.

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NOTICE OF SALE - A.O. No. 2017-007

The lender is responsible for completing and submitting the Notice of Sale directly to the appropriate newspaper. Notices must be prepared and published in accordance with chapters 45 and 702, of the Florida Statutes. The lender must file the original Notice of Sale and Affidavit of Proof of Publication with the Clerk no later than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the sale. The mere failure to publish a notice of sale is not a ground for canceling the sale, and does not impair the Clerk’s authority to issue a certificate of sale, but Plaintiff’s failure to timely publish notice may subject the Plaintiff to sanctions.

In an effort to assist with the Notice of Sale requirements and the commonly used publications, the following information is provided:

  • Notices must be prepared in accordance with F.S. 45031, section 2.
  • Notice of sale shall be published once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation, as defined in Chapter 50, published in the county where the sale is to be held. The second publication shall be at least 5 days before the sale.
  • A description of the property to be sold.
  • The time and place of sale.
  • A statement that the sale will be made pursuant to the order or final judgment.
  • The caption of the action.
  • The name of the clerk making the sale. (e.g. Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of Court)
  • A statement that any person claiming an interest in the surplus from the sale, if any, other than the property owner as of the date of the lis pendens must file a claim within 60 days after the sale.
  • Plaintiffs must check the Clerk’s website for any documents, such as a bankruptcy or an Order vacating sale, that would prevent the sale from taking place. (This information is in the docket listing on the Clerk’s website. Click on Search Records, login as “Guest” or “User,” click on Civil/Small Claims name lookup, enter case number to read docket information.)
  • Plaintiffs must inform the newspaper of the publication dates.

Commonly used publications are:

  • Business Observer – Legal Department
    Deadline: 2 p.m., Wednesday
    Contact: Kelly Martin
    Phone: (727) 447-7784 / Fax: (727) 447-3944 / Email: legal@businessobserverfl.com
  • La Gaceta
    Wednesday Deadline: 12 p.m. for Friday publishing
    Contact: Erin Manteiga
    Email: legals@lagacetanewspaper.com
  • Tampa Bay Times – Legal Notice Desk
    Sunday Deadline: 12 p.m., Wednesday Deadline: 12 p.m.
    Contact: Bob Harry
    Phone:(727) 893-8358 / Fax: (727) 892-2902 / Email: legals@tampabay.com
  • The Weekly Challenger
    Deadline: 5:00 pm, Tuesday
    Contact: Michael Lewis
    Phone:(727) 709-2335 / Email: editor@theweeklychallenger.com

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Online Mortgage Foreclosure Sales

View the Mortgage Foreclosure Calendar here.

Effective October 4, 2010, foreclosure sales will be conducted online at www.pinellas.realforeclose.com, Monday through Friday beginning at 10:00 a.m., EST on the specified dates by judicial order or final judgment. Check the electronic online auction calendar located on this website.

Public computer terminals will be available for use during sales in the Clerk’s Offices located in the back of the Official Records Department of the Clearwater Courthouse at 315 Court St, Room 163, and the Judicial Building in St. Petersburg at 545 1st Ave. North.

BUYERS BEWARE!! All properties or liens are sold “AS IS”. Bidders are responsible for conducting their own research as to the property/lien being sold. The Clerk’s Office makes no warranties or representation about the location or condition regarding any property, the condition of any structures or fixtures, its marketability, existing or potential uses, zoning regulations or laws that may affect current or future uses of the property, outstanding or potential liens, mortgages or other encumbrances or defects in title that may exist, including whether any defendants have filed a bankruptcy.

Conditions of Sale:
Foreclosure files are available for viewing between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in Room 170 of the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court Street, Clearwater, FL or online here.

Deposits:
Pursuant to F.S. 45.031, in advance of the sale, a deposit must be made equal to 5% of your successful final bid(s) for each property you wish to bid on. The advance deposit can be made on this site via wire transfer (see NOTE below) or in person at the Clearwater Courthouse, 315 Court Street, Room 170, Clearwater, FL 33756 or in St. Petersburg at the Judicial Building at 545 1st Avenue North, St Petersburg, FL 33701, by cash, cashier’s check, money order, certified check, official bank check, government issued checks or if represented by an attorney, by attorney trust account check (clearly delineated as such on the check). Please make any checks payable to: Clerk of the Circuit Court.

In person deposits require the bidder to initiate the deposit on the www.pinellas.realforeclose.com, site by selecting counter deposit and printing a deposit slip. The deposit slips contain vital information needed to apply funds received to bidder’s account and must be provided to the Clerk’s Office for counter deposits.

If a judgment holder is the successful bidder, the 5% deposit will be credited against the judgment amount. The judgment holder thus does not need to pay funds for the deposit unless he or she bids above the amount of their judgment credit.

Bidding:
To be eligible to bid on an auction you must register at www.pinellas.realforeclose.com. The site provides information for each pending sale, including the case number and legal description. The Clerk and Realauction.com are not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information provided on this site. Proxy bidding is available prior to the day of the scheduled sale you wish to bid on.

Instructions and additional information on how to place your bids can be located at www.pinellas.realforeclose.com.

Successful Bidder/Final Payment:
If you are the successful bidder, the 5% advance deposit will be automatically applied to your final payment and the difference between the deposit and the total amount due must be received by the Clerk by 11:00 am EST on the next business day after the sale.

Pursuant to sections 28.24(10), Florida Statutes, the successful bidder must pay the following costs: documentary stamp taxes ($.70 per $100.00); and Court Registry fees of three percent (3%) of the first $500.00, and one and a half percent (1.5%) of the balance of the amount bid and any other costs as set forth in the Judgment or order of the court.

Final payment may be made in person by; cash, cashier’s check, money order, certified check, official bank check, government issued checks, or if represented by an attorney, by attorney trust account check at the Clearwater Courthouse at 315 Court Street, Room 170 or the Judicial Building in St. Petersburg at 545 1st Avenue North. Additionally, final payment may be made by wire transfer. Such wire transfer must be received by the Clerk’s bank by 11:00am EST the next business day after the sale and clearly indicate the case number for which payment is being made. Additionally, beginning May 1, 2017 all bidders will be able to make pre and post-sale payments from their bidder accounts, provided there are sufficient funds on deposit to cover the total amount due. Final payment may not be made by ACH/electronic check.

Failure to Pay:
Failure to pay the balance of the final bid plus all fees due by 11:00am EST the next business day following the sale will result in forfeiture of the 5% deposit and nullification of the sale. The Clerk will retain the statutory registry of the court fees and the electronic online auction fee from the forfeited deposit. Any remaining funds will be disbursed according to court order.

IF THE SALE IS SET ASIDE, THE CLERK WILL RETAIN THE CLERKS FEE FOR CONDUCTING THE SALE AND THE ELECTRONIC SALE FEE, AS ENTITLED BY LAW.


Credit for Interest or Attorney Fees:
In order to receive credit at the time of the sale for costs incurred after judgment (provided the judgment awarded the right to recover same), each judgment holder must provide to the Clerk, before the sale, an affidavit stating the amounts incurred. Attorney fees will only be paid in accordance with court orders.

Redemption:
Pursuant to F.S. 45.0315, the mortgagor (defendant) or the holder of any subordinate interest may cure the indebtedness and prevent a foreclosure sale by paying the amount of monies specified in the judgment “at any time before the filing of a certificate of sale by the Clerk of Court or the time specified in the judgment, whichever is later.” Payment for redemption must be made by cash, cashier’s check, money order, certified check or official bank check drawn upon a U.S. banking institution made payable to Ken Burke, Clerk of the Circuit Court, pursuant to the final judgment, plus Clerk’s sales fee (if redemption occurs after the sale), interest and all related costs of the sale.

Bankruptcy:
Pursuant to A.O. No. 2017-007, If, prior to the commencement of a foreclosure sale, the Clerk receives a formal Suggestion of Bankruptcy on behalf of a named Defendant in that foreclosure case, the Clerk shall remove the foreclosure sale from the docket without Court order. The Court may order the sale to proceed based upon evidence that there is a valid bankruptcy court order lifting the stay or dismissing the bankruptcy case.

Any interested parties (including the Plaintiff, junior lienholders or third party purchaser) may seek a bankruptcy court order to show there was no valid stay, that the stay was lifted, or to seek other appropriate relief pursuant to 11 U.S.C section 362.

In the event a foreclosure sale proceeds and is later vacated due to a bankruptcy stay, when no formal Suggestion of Bankruptcy was filed in the foreclosure case or the Court ordered the sale to proceed, the Clerk shall not be required to refund mandatory court registry or sales fees. See Wilken v. North County Co., Inc., 670 So. 2d 181 (4th DCA 1976) (stating that the buyer at a foreclosure sale assumes the risk of losing the court registry and sales fees if the sale is voided, and holding that a court could determine the party responsible for reimbursing such fees upon the invalidation of a foreclosure sale).

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Information for claiming Surplus Funds after a Mortgage Foreclosure sale
(Homeowners and Lienholders):

Surplus funds are defined as money remaining from mortgage foreclosure sale proceeds after all payments required by the Final Judgment have been paid. 

Pursuant to Florida Statute 45.031(1)(a) and (b):

IF YOU ARE A SUBORDINATE LIENHOLDER CLAIMING A RIGHT TO FUNDS REMAINING AFTER THE SALE, YOU MUST FILE A CLAIM WITH THE CLERK NO LATER THAN 60 DAYS AFTER THE SALE. IF YOU FAIL TO FILE A CLAIM, YOU WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO ANY REMAINING FUNDS.

IF YOU ARE THE PROPERTY OWNER, YOU MAY CLAIM THESE FUNDS YOURSELF. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO HAVE A LAWYER OR ANY OTHER REPRESENTATION AND YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ASSIGN YOUR RIGHTS TO ANYONE ELSE IN ORDER FOR YOU TO CLAIM ANY MONEY TO WHICH YOU ARE ENTITLED. PLEASE CHECK WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT, (INSERT INFORMATION FOR APPLICABLE COURT) WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS AFTER THE SALE TO SEE IF THERE IS ADDITIONAL MONEY FROM THE FORECLOSURE SALE THAT THE CLERK HAS IN THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT.

AFTER 60 DAYS, ONLY THE OWNER OF RECORD AS OF THE DATE OF THE LIS PENDENS MAY CLAIM THE SURPLUS.

The amount of funds, if any, remaining after a Mortgage Foreclosure sale will be detailed on the Certificate of Disbursements, which is mailed to all parties in a case 10 days after the date of sale.  Please keep your address updated with the Clerk’s Office so you will receive this mailing in a timely manner.  The Clerk cannot disburse these funds without a court order.

If you are a subordinate lienholder, you must file your claim within 60 days after the date of the Certificate of Disbursement.  If you are the homeowner, you may use the suggested form in Florida Statute 45.032 to establish your claim.  For convenience, we have included that form, Owner’s Claim for Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus, on our website.  In addition, to submit your claim to the Court, you should file a General Motion form.  You will then need to contact the Judge assigned to your case to schedule a hearing to determine entitlement to the funds. Copies of all pleadings must be sent to all parties in the case. 

If no claims have been filed for the surplus funds within 60 days after the sale, the Clerk continues to hold the funds in the court registry and follows the procedures outlined in Florida Statute 45.032

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