Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Progress, but Pipeline Staying Full

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Progress, but Pipeline Staying Full

Article excerpt

The court system will take as long as 18 months to work through the region's supply of foreclosures, attorney says

WHILE LOCAL COURTS HAVE made headway in clearing out the foreclosure backlog, Sarasota attorney Nancy E. Cason says they still have a long way to go.

Cason, a foreclosure specialist with the Syprett Meshad law firm, says it could take another 18 months to process the cases now clogging the 12th Judicial Circuit, which includes Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties.

"Contrary to popular belief, the foreclosure crisis is far from over in the 12th Judicial Circuit," said Cason, who recently wrote an article on the subject for The Docket, the monthly publication of the Sarasota County Bar Association.

The circuit received funding last year from the state as part of the national mortgage settlement to help relieve the foreclosure crunch. A senior judge position was paid for in Sarasota and Manatee, several foreclosure case managers were added to process paperwork and two magistrates were hired to preside over residential foreclosures.

The circuit had 14,109 pending foreclosure cases in mid-2013, just before the new resources came on, Cason says. As of late April, the most recent period measured, 7,786 cases had been disposed of in some way.

But another 2,666 new foreclosures were filed during that 10- month period, an average of 267 a month.

"At this rate, it will take close to another year and a half, give or take, to clear up the current backlog," she said, and only if funding for the new resources is renewed after running out next February.

Before the process was sped up, it could take up to three years or longer to move a foreclosure case through the circuit.

"I am confident those days are over," Cason said. "Although there is no question that foreclosures will move more quickly through the system with this funding in place and with the new and improved foreclosure procedures, we still have a far way to go before the foreclosure crisis is considered over in our circuit," she said.

"As such, foreclosures will continue to affect real property values throughout the remainder of 2014 and likely well into 2015. …

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