The Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program
In response to the significant number of foreclosure cases that have been filed in Hillsborough County, the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit has appointed the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation as the designated mediation provider for court ordered foreclosure cases. As Program Manager of the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program, “RMFM Program,” the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation will coordinate the collection and exchange of financial documents between parties as well as manage the mediation of any residential mortgage foreclosure case ordered by the court to mediation pursuant to a Uniform Order of Referral to Foreclosure Mediation. Assistance with the collection of financial documents is conducted by the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation’s business partner, The Center for Financial Counseling. The Thirteenth Judicial Circuit’s Administrative Order S-2012-053 can be found under Forms or via the court’s website www.fljud13.org.
The goal of mediation is to bring homeowners and lenders together so they can determine whether it is possible to negotiate an agreement that will prevent foreclosure. A trained Florida Supreme Court certified mediator is a neutral third party who helps both parties discuss all options and possibly negotiate a fair and voluntary agreement. The mediator does not favor either the homeowner or the lender, does not decide who is right or wrong, and does not provide legal advice. Participating in a mediation does not guarantee that a settlement will be reached or that the property will not be foreclosed, but provides an opportunity for the homeowner to discuss these matters directly with the lender with the assistance of the mediator.
There are other mediation providers in the state, however, the HCBF is the only mediation provider approved by the 13th Circuit Court and it has worked in conjunction with the court since August 2010 providing these services.