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Florida Homeowners Jeopardized By Contentious Politics

The Florida housing market has been struggling to recover for the last several years, victimized by big banks that had been eager to exploit those hoping to own a piece of the Sunshine State.

Today, our Miami foreclosure defense lawyers know that Florida continues to top the national list in terms of the number of foreclosures, as well as homeowners at risk of foreclosures.

Those in Washington aren’t making it any better. The effects of the government shutdown have been felt hard by many in Florida. While the future of this political battle remains uncertain, we know that it likely won’t be lawmakers who suffer the most.

Here in South Florida, it’s been reported that businesses near the Everglades have been hit hard by the government shutdown. Both Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park, which border the edge of South Miami-Dade County, have been closed as a result of the congressional stalemate, which dragged on for the past three weeks.

The impact of that was immediate for the nearly 250 park employees who were furloughed without paychecks. But they weren’t the only ones who suffered. Those parks are crucial to many of the businesses that border them: hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions that cater largely to visitors.

Many of those businesses are mom-and-pop spots. They don’t have the luxury of a deep-pocketed chain that can help them stay afloat for months on end (or however long this fight drags on).

Nearby hotels report an occupancy rate of less than half, and most have experienced dozens of cancellations. Some have been saved by the fact that there are some construction projects still underway, so out-of-town workers are still paying for beds.

But we’re entering prime tourist season in Florida. The weather is beginning to cool up north, and people are beginning to seek a respite from that by enjoying the best of what Southern Florida has to offer. However, without access to the national parks, many tourists are postponing or cancelling their plans altogether.

Some business owners say the struggle is day-to-day. Some say even if the shutdown ends soon, the impact of the tens of thousands of dollars they’ve already lost will plague them through the season.

How much of that will translate to foreclosures is unclear. We know it certainly won’t help the situation. People who can’t earn a paycheck can’t pay their bills. Hard choices have to be made. When people are forced to choose between vital medicine or food and their mortgage, it’s often the mortgage that gets skipped. A few missed payments can quickly put someone on an irreversible path to foreclosure.

Courts in Florida have been working overtime to clear the backlog of foreclosure cases on the dockets over the last several months. State court administrators say judges cleared some 42,000 cases in July and August alone, bringing the total number down to just under 300,000 – the first time that’s happened in five years.

However, as the shutdown lingers, we may see that progress set back substantially.

If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Legal for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.

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