Many states have enacted consumer collection practices laws that impose addition hurdles for lenders in their efforts to collect debts and foreclose mortgages. A Florida appellate court has just addressed what it considers may be a case of first impression in Florida: whether a collection practices statute can impose a condition precedent to provide written notice of the assignment of a mortgage loan to the borrower, and bar commencing foreclosure notwithstanding the lender’s compliance with its contractual obligations to assign the mortgage and provide notice of acceleration. Although Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal held in Brindise v. U.S. Bank National Association that the notice of assignment required by the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”) is not a condition precedent to foreclosure, “because innumerable foreclosure cases are pending in the trial and district courts where defendants have raised section 559.715 as a bar to foreclosure,” it certified the question to the Florida Supreme Court as one of great public importance. Brindise v. U.S. Bank National Association, __ So. 3d __, 41 Fla. L. Weekly D223a (Fla. 2d DCA January 20, 2016).
Previously, Florida appellate courts were strictly enforcing the acceleration requirements in mortgages. In Gorel v. The Bank of New York Mellon, Case No. 5D13-3272 (Fla. 5th DCA May 8, 2015), a Florida appellate court has now held that the failure of a default notice to specify a date not less than 30 days by which the default must be cured does not constitute a valid defense where the defective notice did not prejudice the borrower, because he made no attempt to cure the default.