Foreclosure Settlement Conferences and What to Expect


IS YOUR HOUSE IN FORECLOSURE?

Have you received a 90‐day pre‐foreclosure notice?

Mortgagee loan service providers (your bank or lender) are required to send all homeowners a notice at least ninety (90) days prior to the commencent (start) of a foreclosure action.

Notices must be sent to the last known address of the borrower by registered or certified mail AND by first‐class mail. (NY RPAPL § 1304)


Have you received a Summons to appear in court?

Receiving a Summons means that your home is officially in the foreclosure stage within court. This means that a lis pendens has been filed on your property, informing the public of the ongoing foreclosure.


You will have received the Summons with a Complaint attached, either in person or by mail. It is important to consult an attorney to see whether you must appear in court or file an Answer to the Summons.


If the Summons and Complaint were personally handed or delivered to you, then you may only have twenty (20) days to answer the Complaint. If you received the Summons and Complaint by some other method (mail, another person accepted it for you), then you may only have thirty (30) days to answer. You should seek legal advice when you receive it. You may have legal defenses to the foreclosure action.

*Although the foreclosure process in New York can be quite lengthy, you should get help as soon as possible to preserve your rights and try to work out an alternative to foreclosure.



WHAT TO EXPECT IN COURT

It is important to know which court you are required to appear in during the foreclosure action and where to file a timely Answer to the Complaint.


Have you received a Settlement Conference Court date?

In New York State, many homeowners are entitled to a mandatory foreclosure settlement conference. It is strongly advised that you seek an attorney’s assistance prior to appearing in court for the conference. (CPLR § 3408).


During the settlement conference, you may be able to negotiate alternatives to foreclosure with your lender and/or lender’s attorney, including a possible modification of your loan terms, short sale, or other resolution.


The Mandatory Settlement Conference will be supervised by a Judge or Referee to make sure that all parties are negotiating in good faith under CPLR § 3408 (f) to resolve the matter.



WHAT DOCUMENTS WILL I NEED TO APPLY FOR A LOAN MODIFICATION?

Documents that you will need to apply for a loan modification include:

  • a hardship letter explaining when and why you fell behind in making your monthly mortgage payments

  • proof of current monthly income in the form of pay stubs, profit and loss statements (if you are self‐ employed), benefit award letters (Social Security, Worker’s Compensation, Public Assistance, Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance, etc.) with proof of current receipt.

  • two most recent bank statements for all bank accounts

  • two most recent tax returns, signed and dated

  • a recent utility bill.

You should have your most recent mortgage statement and the property tax bill, even if you have not been paying the property taxes.



COMMON TERMS

Mortgageethe bank/lender, including those who obtain the Note and Mortgage from the original lender.

Mortgagorthe person who borrowed the money/took out the loan.

Mortgage servicerthe managing agent for the entity who claims ownership of the note. The borrower must be notified of any change in servicer. The servicer typically sends monthly statements to the borrower.

Notethe borrower’s signed promise to repay the loan amount within the time stated at the stated interest rate (fixed or adjustable).

Mortgagea security instrument signed by the borrower and any other owners on the deed, allowing the lender to foreclose on the home in case of a default.

Lis pendens (Notice of Pendency) a document filed with the County Clerk at the time the foreclosure action is filed with the court, making the public aware that there is a foreclosure action and prohibiting the sale of the home without the bank’s/lender’s consent.

Refereean individual who is appointed by the court, usually upon motion by the lender, to calculate the amount due to the lender. A referee is appointed before the judgment of foreclosure is obtained by the lender.

Short saleIf the amount due on the loan is more than the value of the property, a short sale may be an option to foreclosure. In this case, the lender may agree to allow the homeowner to sell the home for the current fair market value and forgive the balance owed on the loan. [Contact an accountant about income tax considerations.]

Deed‐in‐lieu of foreclosureAs an alternative to foreclosure, the bank may allow the option where the homeowner conveys the deed of the property to the bank. (Contact an accountant about any income tax considerations.]

Foreclosure and Public Sale at AuctionIf the foreclosure proceeds to judgment in court, the property will be sold at a public auction.

Post foreclosure eviction—If the homeowner still resides at the property after the sale at auction, the new owner (which could be the foreclosing lender), will have to obtain a further judgment from the court, most often in a summary eviction proceeding brought in another courthouse, to allow the County Sheriff to forcibly remove the original homeowner from the home.


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