Florida Supreme Court decides Bartram Quiet Title Case

quiet title

On November 3, 2016, the Florida Supreme Court released its Quiet Title decision in Bartram v. U.S. Bank, N.A.  The court affirmed the decision of the Fifth District Court of Appeals. In layman’s terms, the homeowners lost and the lenders won. The court held that the lender could sue based on new defaults that occurred even when the initial defaulted payments and acceleration were past the five-year statute of limitations.

The court rationalized that the dismissal of the foreclosure action returned the parties back to where they were before the acceleration and the foreclosure action was filed. Therefore, if the lender lists the newer defaults on the payments that were not barred by the five-year statute of limitations, the lender can file a new foreclosure and fix the deficiencies of the old foreclosure case that was dismissed.

This means that for a homeowner to win in a quiet title action the note would have to come due (reach its maturity date), then have five years pass in order to render all payments under the loan due and all barred by the statute of limitations. In this situation, the lender would be out of luck because the five-year statute of limitations will have run and there is no possibility for new defaults to restart the clock allowing a lender additional attempts to get the property back if the foreclosure was dismissed.