• 25
  • February

Bankruptcy filings dropped significantly when the laws changed in 2005, but each year since that time has seen bankruptcy filings rise. Until now. For the past few months, the Tampa area has seen a decrease in the number of individuals and businesses filing for bankruptcy.

Tampa falls under the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's Middle District of Florida. December and January each recorded fewer bankruptcy filings here than the previous year, which could be good news. According to the court's chief judge, February bankruptcy filings are on track to be lower than last year as well.

However, industry experts believe that we will likely see a new wave of foreclosure and bankruptcy filings come in this year. Those new filings, they say, will contribute to an overall rise in bankruptcies for the year.

The robosigning debacle last year caused a backup in the foreclosure process. Lenders who previously would have foreclosed on properties are now allowing homeowners to stay on the properties payment-free for longer. That has led people to feel less pressure to file for bankruptcy, say industry experts.

However, as the foreclosure system picks up again, many are predicting that bankruptcies will also rise. That could pose challenges for the nine judges currently hearing cases at Florida's Middle District bankruptcy court. According to one judge, they are already "doing the work of what really should be 19 judges." She reported that the judges have not noticed the decrease in bankruptcy filings for the past few months because there were already so many in the system.

Source: TampaBay.com, "Bankruptcy filings, like foreclosures, expected to pick up again," Jeff Harrington, 25 Feb 2011