Tallahassee, FL asked in Foreclosure for Florida

Q: Florida-Does foreclosure moratorium allow lender to sell the property and the new owners can file "unlawful detainer"

Certificate of title was (not served but) issued 3/2020, Bank did not do writ of possession and listed house for auction 4/15 (after moratorium executive order). We were never notified until receipt of unlawful detainer 8/19 that the house belongs to new owners. New owner is seeking possession and damages claiming we "knowingly" refused to leave and owe them for this time. We have not been notified, no proof of title, etc.

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: If the property was auctioned before the executive order was issued in March, there would have been a certificate of sale issued giving you ten (10) days to redeem the property. If you do not redeem the property by paying the judgment, then a certificate of title is issued. The timing of these steps is crucial since the executive order containing the moratorium was mid-month and the sale and certificate of sale may have occurred first. The Clerk of Court completes a Certificate of Service with the Certificate of Sale and Certificate of Title, so it is given a high level of presumption those were mailed to you. Judges will also consider you are a party to the foreclosure action and should be watching the docket for these. Courts are not too willing to set aside a sale when there is a bona fide purchaser and there are statutes to protect the purchaser.

You need to immediately consult with a local foreclosure defense/bankruptcy attorney to review the record and see if anything can be done. The latest executive order changed the wording of the moratorium and it is not does not protect everyone. It protects those "affected" by COVID-19 with no definition of the word "affected," meaning do you have to actually have COVID-19, lost your job due to COVID-19, etc.

This isn't a problem that can be solved with online information. Hire an attorney immediately. Time is of the essence since you only have a short amount of time to answer the lawsuit filed against you.

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