Lenders Receive Early Christmas Present, Ruling Allows them to Reopen Dismissed Foreclusures

Delinquent Florida homeowners could be getting long-delayed foreclosure notices after a court ruling cleared the way for lenders to revive cases that have stalled for years.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled last month that lenders can refile foreclosure cases against owners still in default, even if the cases started more than five years ago, beyond the statute of limitations.

During the housing meltdown that began in 2006, lenders filed foreclosures by the tens of thousands, but cases often were dismissed on legal technicalities by lenders or judges. In some instances, mortgage companies didn't have witnesses in place for trial; in others, the judges ruled that homeowners were improperly served foreclosure papers.

The Florida Supreme Court heard the Bartram case in 2015 and issued its ruling on Nov. 3.

Homeowners who have been delinquent for longer than five years can expect to start hearing again from their lenders, said Roy Oppenheim, a real estate attorney in Weston.