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Can you live in your home for FREE if your foreclosure case hasn't been resolved within 5 years?

The current statute of limitations provides that a mortgage foreclosure MUST be brought within 5 years of a payment default. Pursuant to a local case, the trial court dismissed the case with prejudice 5 years later and after the Plaintiff bank did not attend a case management hearing. The bank did not appeal the dismissal. However, in litigation over the second mortgage on that property, the husband moved for summary judgment and the trial court granted the motion. The bank filed for rehearing, was denied and appealed to the 5th District Court of Appeal. The 5th DCA overruled the trial court and ruled that the bank may bring another foreclosure based on defaults subsequent to the dismissal of the first suit. The 5th DCA based this ruling on Singleton v. Greymar Associates, 882 So.2d 1004 (Fla. 2004).

The 5th DCA argued that res judicata does not prevent a new foreclosure action for defaults that occurred after an earlier foreclosure was dismissed and that the new statutory limitations would not prevent a new filing on later defaults. The Supreme Court agreed. Any subsequent and separate alleged defaults would create a new and independent right in the mortgage to accelerate payment on the note in a subsequent foreclosure action. Singelton, 882 So.2d at 1008.

This ruling removes the notion that people can live in a home for free after an extended period of time.

See also the Supreme Courts opinion in Bartram v. US Bank National Association, etc. et al., case no. SC14-1265.

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