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Florida’s Fourth DCA Confirms the One-Year Statute of Limitations for a Deficiency Action Brought Within a Foreclosure Case
On December 9, 2020, in Accardi v. Regions Bank, No. 4D20-0662, the Fourth DCA held that the one-year statute of limitations specified in section 95.11(5)(h), Fla. Stat., applies to a motion for deficiency judgment brought within an existing mortgage foreclosure action. The Court also determined the limitation period began with the issuance of the Certificate of Title.
Prior to reviewing the Court’s ruling, the timeline of events within the case are crucial to the statute of limitations analysis.
This case involves the application of the statute of limitations contained in section 95.11(5)(h), which provides a one-year statute of limitations in an action to enforce a claim of a deficiency related to a note secured by a mortgage against a residential property. The statute establishes that the limitations period shall commence on the day after the certificate is issued by the clerk of court or the day after the mortgagee accepts a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
The Court determined that because subsection (5)(h) applies to “an action to enforce a claim of a deficiency,” it is essential to focus on how Chapter 95 defines an “action.” Section 95.011, provides, in pertinent part: “a civil action or proceeding, called ‘action’ in this chapter… shall be barred unless begun within the time prescribed in this chapter or, if a different time is prescribed elsewhere in these statutes, within the time prescribed elsewhere.”
The Fourth DCA held that a motion for deficiency, even within an existing mortgage foreclosure lawsuit, amounts to a “civil action or proceeding” within the meaning of statute. Accordingly, the statute of limitations to bring a deficiency action relating to a residential foreclosure is one-year from the issuance of the Certificate of Title.
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