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Increased court fee on foreclosure filing approved under bill

By Staff | Jun 10, 2009

Mortgage lenders looking to foreclose on a home can expect to pay higher fees to file foreclosure proceedings in court, thanks to new legislation that took effect June 1.
Foreclosure filings on mortgages $50,000 and under now cost $400, filings on mortgages between $50,000 and $250,000 cost $905, and filings on mortgages worth more than $250,000 cost $1,905.
The prior rate was about $300 for all filings.
The new fees are part of a state bill passed this year increasing many civil and criminal court fees, and are designed to make up for the judicial system’s perceived lack of funding.
“It created several new fees as a way to fund the judicial system,” state Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, said.
“It was a comprehensive bill, it wasn’t just about foreclosures. That’s why the foreclosure thing went under the radar screen,” added Aubuchon, who voted for the bill.
Lee County Clerk of Courts Charlie Green said the Florida Supreme Court pushed the new fees to make up for what it sees as a dearth of funding over the last few years.
“For several years the judiciary didn’t feel like they were getting properly funded,” he said.
While the number of court cases in the system were on the rise two years ago, the new fees come at a time when most cases — except foreclosure cases — are on the decline.
“For the past year court cases have gone down,” Green said.
The larger fees are still lower than other states, and are designed to recover the cost of each case.
“There has been a general movement to the fee being tied to the cost of the service being rendered,” Aubuchon said.
Whether the fee increases were needed is secondary to the larger question of whether they aid or hamper the delivery of justice, Green said.
“You need an accessible court that will solve the problem. Inhibitors don’t help,” he said.