The Leto Law Firm was retained in late 2011 to assist a large foreclosure law firm in an appeal. The case involved a foreclosed home that was supposed to be put up for public sale after the foreclosure process was completed. At the time of the foreclosure, the bank was owed $787,000. The actual fair market value of the property at the time of foreclosure was $365,000.
Prior to a foreclosed home being sold on the courthouse steps, Florida law requires that notice of the foreclosure sale must be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. The purpose of this publication requirement is to place all interested parties on notice of the pending sale.
In this case, the notice was never published and the bank was never made aware of the sale date. As a result, a disinterested third party successfully bid on the property for $1,622. That’s right, a third party came in and bought a $365,000 property for $1,622. When the bank became aware of this, an immediate motion was filed requesting the Court vacate the sale and allow the bank a fair opportunity to bid on the property. That motion was denied by the trial court in Palm Beach County, Florida.
At that point, the law firm handling the case requested that we take over and file the appeal. We argued that the sales price was grossly inadequate and that the trial judge abused his discretion in allowing the sale to stand.
Today, the Fourth District Court of Appeals issued its ruling and sided with us. The trial court’s decision was reversed and the property will be reset for sale under circumstances that will allow for a fair and open bidding process for all parties.