If you are in foreclosure, the prospect of losing your home is terrifying. It is critical that you speak with a foreclosure defense attorney to know your legal rights and options.
An attorney can provide assistance if you have been served a summons and complaint or if you believe you are about to enter foreclosure. An attorney can often stop a foreclosure and/or negotiate with your bank for a loan modification.
Unemployment and loss of income is still affecting millions of American families so you are not alone but time is critical. We have assisted thousands of homeowners in foreclosure defense and have more experience with loan modifications than most of our colleagues – not just in New York State – but around the country. An experienced foreclosure attorney can help get you through this troubling time.
The Foreclosure Process in New York
Foreclosure in New York State is conducted in several steps. We’ve outlined those steps for you below to give you an understanding of the process.
SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT
After you miss 3-4 mortgage payments (although this can be much longer) the bank sends you an Acceleration Letter. This means that you must pay the entire amount of the loan by the timeframe stated in the letter or the bank will initiate foreclosure proceedings. At this point the bank will stop accepting mortgage payments.
Next, a 90 Day Notice, which is a requirement for the bank under the law, will be sent to you informing you of what steps you must take in the next 90 days to avoid foreclosure (Banks will sometimes send a 90 Day Notice before an Acceleration Letter).
Following this the bank files a lis pendens and the summons and complaint with the court and serves you with the summons and complaint. This is crucial because if you are served personally, you have 20 days to respond. If you find the summons and complaint on your door, you have 30 days to answer.
Failing to file an answer may mean you forfeit potential legal rights and defenses.
THE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
In New York all foreclosure actions involving a primary residence in a one to four family property with a "home loan" entitles you to a foreclosure settlement conference. The conference is scheduled by the court and must be held within 60 days of the filing of the RJI (Request for Judicial Intervention).
At the settlement conference there is usually a referee or court appointed attorney who will meet with you, your foreclosure attorney and the bank’s attorney. The purpose of the meeting is to try and resolve the foreclosure through a loan modification. This process can involve several conferences and can take a number of months or even longer.
AFTER THE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
If you are approved for a loan modification, the bank will discontinue the foreclosure.
When a loan modification isn’t possible, the bank will make motions to calculate your amount due and proceed with foreclosure. The procedure is slightly different if you filed an answer to the summons and complaint.
Once a court approves the sale of a property, the bank is required to advertise the sale in a local newspaper for approximately one month. The foreclosure sale is usually held at the courthouse in the jurisdiction where the property is located.
Answering a Summons in a Foreclosure Action in New York
When you are served with a summons and complaint you must act quickly. You have as little as twenty days and up to 30 days to answer depending on how you were served notice. Ignoring a summons and complaint puts your legal defenses in jeopardy. At this point you should retain an experienced foreclosure attorney to assist you and answer the complaint.
We will review all the relevant documents to look for procedural errors the bank may have committed. Today we often see many cases being dismissed because of bank error.
For example, sometimes the bank “lacks standing”. The bank or plaintiff must prove that it was the owner of the note and mortgage at the beginning of the foreclosure action. Due to complicated financial transactions, there are many instances where they cannot. If the bank can’t prove ownership, it lacks standing and cannot continue that particular foreclosure action. This is just one of many potential defenses you can use.
You can lose this defense and many others if you don’t respond swiftly with the help of an experienced foreclosure attorney. Failing to respond can cost you your home.
If you need assistance with a foreclosure in White Plains or Westchester County contact us for a free consultation with a foreclosure defense attorney
Free Foreclosure Consultation
We represent each client with integrity and trust and years of experience with the New York legal system.