Recent news articles have raised the issue of the statute of limitations for foreclosure actions in Florida. The large numbers of borrowers who defaulted on loans during the recession, and the subsequent filing of tens of thousands of foreclosure actions in Florida, have left borrowers and lenders alike considering their options in the year 2014.

Pursuant to Florida statute Section 95.11(2)(c), the statute of limitations for an action to foreclose a mortgage in Florida is five years. The period begins to run when the last element of the claim occurs, which, for most mortgage foreclosure actions, will be the time of acceleration. When the mortgage contains an optional acceleration clause and a default notice states that the “acceleration “may” occur, the statute of limitations does not run from the date of the default, but rather from when the holder of the mortgage exercises its right to acceleration, which is not until the foreclosure action is filed. Borrowers sometimes claim that a prior acceleration eliminates the lender’s ability to pursue another foreclosure action after dismissal of the first action. However, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held in Olympia Mortgage v. Pugh that “by voluntarily dismissing the suit, [lender] in effect decided not to accelerate payment on the note and mortgage at that time.”

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