Florida Foreclosure Process and Adverse Minority Effects

The Florida foreclosure process has brought many troubling practices to light, whether it is questionable attorney tactics, discriminatory lending, or bank owned blighted properties.  Now, news of more malfeasance on the part of banks has emerged – the National Fair Housing Alliance has issued a report that alleges that banks do not take care of foreclosed properties as well in minority neighborhoods as they do in predominantly white neighborhoods.

This troubling report brings to mind many questions: why, for example, have our state legislators only seemed to pay attention to the court and litigation end of the foreclosure process in Florida? Precious little statewide effort has been expended to alleviate the blight brought on by accelerated foreclosures.  For that matter, in light of the fact that additional auctions and foreclosures bring this apparently racially-influenced blight upon our communities, why have some jurisdictions begun an all-out rush to get properties to auction?

Our court system and our legislators should not be in the business of assisting banks in their apparently prejudicial practices.  We think the best policy, as always, is to pressure parties towards settlement.  Keeping families in homes is empirically proven to eliminate most of the negative externalities that result from foreclosure.  For every case set on an accelerated trial docket – that has eliminated a homeowner’s opportunity to settle to keep their property – we must ask whether or not our courts are assisting banks in harming minority communities.