Foreclosure Help

Foreclosure HelpThe ownership of a single family home is the American dream. A foreclosure in effect destroys that dream. Families facing foreclosure are apprehensive with regard to how they will deal with this situation. The threat of having your home sold and being forced out of your home is not something a family looks forward to. However, when a bank initiates a foreclosure lawsuit the homeowners have an opportunity to present their case in front of a judge. Since the foreclosure crisis laws have been enacted in New York State to encourage good faith settlement negotiations between financial institutions and homeowners. It gives homeowners an opportunity to consider all forms of loss mitigation. This includes having the homeowners obtain a reasonable mortgage modification.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcies are brought in federal courts. Upon filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the federal bankruptcy court issues a stay stopping all legal proceedings in the state court. The state court foreclosure action is frozen. Your house will not be sold. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reorganize your finances, establish a plan to catch up on your mortgage and it keeps you and your family in your home.

Stopping the Foreclosure from Moving Forward

While the homeowner is pursuing loss mitigation options including obtaining a mortgage modification, the foreclosure lawsuit must also be dealt with. This will require the homeowner to retain experienced legal counsel to put in an answer to the summons and complaint. The summons and complaint must be responded to in 20 days if the homeowner is personally served or 30 days if they are served by any other means other than having the summons and complaint put in their hands. If the homeowners do not put a written response in to opposing counsel and file that response with the court within a timely manner the lender will be able to obtain a default judgment against the homeowner. This means the homeowner will lose their opportunity to deny the allegations and pursue their claims against the financial institution. A default judgment will have the impact of reducing the time frame the homeowners have to pursue alternatives to the sale of their home and the homeowners being forced from their home.

Foreclosure Strategies

The best way to deal with a foreclosure litigation is take an aggressive posture. This means not only responding to the allegations in the complaint but counter-suing the financial institution to set the mortgage aside. This type of action gives the homeowners some leverage during the course of the mortgage modification process.

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Conclusion

If you are facing foreclosure it is strongly recommended your retain an experienced foreclosure defense law firm as soon as you are served with paperwork staring the foreclosure lawsuit.

Elliot S. Schlissel, his partner Nathan D. DeCorpo, and his associates, having been fighting foreclosure lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 30 years. The firm maintains offices in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties and can be reached at 800-344-6431 or by e-mail at Elliot@sdnylaw.com for the purpose of setting up a free consultation regarding foreclosure issues.

Non-Bank Servicing Companies Creating Problems for Homeowners

Picture of a home

Banks have been using non-bank servicing companies for the past few years. These servicing companies are not regulated by the modest consumer protections built into the National Mortgage Settlement Law of 2012. Non-bank servicing companies are known to take a long time to review mortgage modifications. They wrongfully deny mortgage modifications on a regular basis. The investors who buy the loans from the non-bank servicing companies are not interested in helping homeowners save their homes by working out amicable mortgage modifications.

Investors and Mortgage Modification

Private investors are becoming more involved with regard to the ownership of delinquent mortgages. In the year 2015 non-bank servicing organizations served approximately a quarter of the $10 trillion in outstanding mortgages on residents in the United States. This percentage of mortgages being serviced by non-bank servicing companies has expanded in both 2016 and 2017.

Oversight of Servicing Companies

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Eliza Cummings of Maryland have looked into the need for oversight with regard to non-bank mortgage servicing companies. They recently made a joint statement “harm to consumers such as problems or errors with account transfers, payment processing, and loss mitigation processing have developed related to non-bank mortgage servicing companies.”

There are approximately 100,000 mortgage foreclosures going on in the State of New York. Homeowners often feel overwhelmed when dealing with non-bank servicing companies. The best way to deal with issues involving these servicing companies is to hire an experienced foreclosure attorney to represent you on these matters.

Elliot S. Schlissel and his associates have been representing homeowners throughout the Metropolitan New York area with regard to foreclosure cases for more than 35 years. They work hard to help keep their clients in their homes.

Video: Mortgage Modification, Stay In Your Home!

Elliot discusses mortgage modification and how to stay in your home if you are facing foreclosure.

Loan Modifications: What Are They Really? Part: 2

Dollar BillsThe first step in obtaining a mortgage modification is for the homeowner to apply to their bank, loan servicing organization or the investor holding their mortgage for a modification. This requires the homeowner to fill out a mortgage modification application and provide the documentation requested. The modification should also contain a hardship letter explaining that the homeowner has had a legitimate hardship situation that will motivate the bank loan servicer or investor to cooperate with them concerning obtaining a mortgage modification. In addition, most mortgage modification applications require the submission of tax returns, bank statements and pay stubs by the homeowner.

Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP)

The federal mortgage lending program called HAMP is a program created by President Obama’s administration. This program does not work well. Approximately one homeowner in five is successful in obtaining a mortgage modification under this program. Many homeowners presume that they will be given a mortgage modification if they simply submit an application. This is simply not the case. The large majority of homeowners who submit mortgage modifications will never obtain a mortgage modification.

Banks and Financial Institutions

Many homeowners who come to my office presume that the financial institutions which hold their mortgages are interested in helping them. Unfortunately, that is generally not the case. The financial institutions which hold mortgages are interested in making money! If they find the homeowner does not meet their criteria related to the profitability of the mortgage, they usually will not grant a mortgage modification. Banks and other financial institutions are not social service agencies. They are financial institutions which seek to make a profit that benefits their shareholders. Not all homeowners are good candidates for mortgage modifications. However, there is a way of maximizing the potential of obtaining a mortgage modification. When homes are in foreclosure, and the homeowner retains counsel who submits numerous affirmative defenses and countersues the bank to set the mortgage aside, the banks and their attorneys pay more attention to the applications of these homeowners for modifications. This can increase the homeowners chances of obtaining a reasonable and fair mortgage modification. This is an example of the expression, “the squeaky wheel gets more grease.”

Foreclosure Defense Advice for 2016

foreclosure attorney New YorkIn many parts of the country, the real estate crisis which has caused the high rate of foreclosures is easing. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the Metropolitan New York area. There is expected to be a large flow of new foreclosure cases coming into the courts in 2016. Here is my New Year’s advice for foreclosures which start in the year 2016.

Don’t Ignore the Foreclosure

In my decades of representing homeowners whose homes go into foreclosure, I am shocked by the number of homeowners who simply put their heads into the ground and ignore the fact that their financial institution is taking legal action against them. There are many things that can be done to stop foreclosures from moving forward, to obtain mortgage modifications, to get banks to pay attention to your situation, to tie cases up in court and to challenge the appropriateness, the standing, the basis of the lawsuit and to move to set the mortgage aside. Do not be an ostrich if your home is going into foreclosure. Obtain the legal services of a competent, experienced foreclosure defense attorney.

Look Into Your Legal Options

As stated in the prior paragraph, ignoring the situation is not a smart option to take. If you haven’t applied for a mortgage modification, apply for one. God helps those who help themselves. The worst that can happen is you will get turned down.

Disaster Situations

If you have been subject to a natural calamity or disaster, which has caused a hardship for you or your family, contact your lender and put them on notice of the situation. They may be able to provide you with a forbearance agreement to help you get on your feet.

Refinancing the Loan

If your mortgage loan is not working out for you, before you fall far behind look into the possibility of refinancing your mortgage. Don’t wait until you are many months behind to consider this option. By then it will be too late!

Sell Your Home

If your home has equity in it, and you can’t afford it, selling your home is an option. You can sell the home and keep the equity which exists in your home. Although many homes are going into foreclosure in the Metropolitan New York area, real estate values are increasing. Your home may be worth more than you think it is worth. This is something you should look into.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy should be the last option you look into, not the first. There are two types of bankruptcies a homeowner can file. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a repayment plan which can help you become current on your existing mortgage over 5 years. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates the personal obligation on your debt. The filing of either of these bankruptcies creates an automatic stay received from a federal court. This stops foreclosure lawsuits from going forward during the pendency of the bankruptcy.foreclosure defense lawyer

The Home Affordable Mortgage Program (“HAMP”) Does Not Work Well

loan modification lawyerPresident Obama established the HAMP program in 2009. The purpose of the program was to help 4 million mortgage holders who were in financial difficulty. However, a recent report by Christie L. Romero who was authorized by the Obama administration to monitor the program indicates the program has not accomplished its goal. The report indicated during the six years after the HAMP program was established 887,000 home owners are participating in loan modifications. The purpose of these loan modifications is to reduce the monthly costs of the mortgage to allow the homeowner and their families to continue to reside in their residence.

4 Million HAMP Mortgage Modifications Turned Down by Banks

The report indicates that instead of helping the 4 million borrowers obtain loan modifications, banks participating in the program have rejected more than 4 million borrowers’ requests for mortgage modifications. 72% of all applications for mortgage modifications have been denied. The report indicates there are two major flaws in the program. The first is the HAMP program is a voluntary program for banks. The second major flaw of the program is that banks who participate in the program process all applications based on whatever standards they decide to set up. The report on the HAMP program indicates that if you apply to CitiMortgage for a loan modification you only had a 13% chance of success. If you applied to Chase Manhattan Bank you had approximately a 16% chance of success, and if you applied to Bank of America, you had only a 20% chance of being successful.

Incomplete Mortgage Modification Applications?

The banks involved in the program claim there are numerous reasons why so many mortgage loan modifications are declined by them. They claim that in almost 40% of the cases the homeowner either does not fill out the application completely or provide the requisite documents. My office’s experience is that the banks lose or misplace the applications and the documentation even if it is provided to them several times.

HAMP Applications Rejected Without Just Cause

The report by Ms. Romero indicates that the Treasury Department is responsible for making sure that banks involved in the HAMP program are not rejecting homeowner’s requests for mortgage modifications without just cause. However, Ms. Romero says that is not taking place. She stated “we are constantly seeing problems with the way servicers are treating homeowners and are not following the rules.” She went on further to state “I don’t understand why there hasn’t been a stronger policing from the Treasury on servicers.”

Wrongful Denial of Mortgage Modifications

Jacob Inwald, the Director of Foreclosure Prevention at the Legal Services NYC which represents troubled homeowners, recently stated “virtually never does one get a loan modification application evaluated the first time.” He went on further to state “we deal with these issues every single day. It requires constant push back and challenging wrongful denials.”

There are a variety of reasons why banks are turning down mortgage modifications. However, before they are rejected the homeowner must get through the process. The process which should be relatively quick and efficient is not. Instead it can take many months and numerous requests to provide banks with the same documents over and over again before a mortgage loan modification application can be viewed by the financial institution. The delaying of the prospective homeowner’s mortgage loan modification request can be profitable for a financial institution. The more time that is involved in the modification process, the more interest, penalties and fees the bank can charge the homeowner. This can cause a drastic increase in the amount owed on the mortgage.

Conclusion

My office has been involved in scores of situations involving homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage. It is my experience the HAMP program very rarely works appropriately. Homeowners who apply for mortgage modifications must document everything they submit to the bank making sure it is in writing. I suggest mortgage modifications be sent to banks by email and be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. All follow up on the application should be done in writing either by regular mail or by email. This helps build a case in the event the bank fails to act in good faith with regard to the mortgage modification.New York foreclosure defense lawyer

Underwater Homes

foreclosure defense lawyer in New YorkThe term “underwater homes” means the home is worth less than the amount owed on its mortgage. Another way of referring to a home that has a mortgage greater than its value is “negative equity”. Most people who are in underwater homes are unable to sell their home or refinance it. At the height of the real estate crisis in America in 2012, approximately one-third of all homes in the United States were underwater. Today, approximately 15% of homes in the United States are underwater. This represents about 12% of all homeowners in the country, or approximately 950,000 homeowners have homes which are underwater. In many instances, homeowners’ homes are so far underwater that the mortgage is twice the value of their home.

Real estate values have been going up recently. However, many homes in America are so far underwater these homes will never reach a point of having equity in them.

Lack of Funds and Bad Credit

This can result in the homeowner trying to rent a home when they don’t have sufficient funds to pay the security and one month’s rent on a rental apartment or rental home. They also will most likely have a low credit score because they are behind on their mortgage payments. Landlords do not like to rent homes to families that have bad credit.

What Should Homeowners With Underwater Homes Do?

The best recommendation would be to consult with a foreclosure defense attorney. What homeowners of underwater homes should not do is move out and abandon their homes. The fact their home is underwater and they are behind on their mortgage, does not mean they are in imminent threat of losing their home and being forced out of it. In most situations, it is in the homeowner’s best interest to continue to live in their home. Many homeowners do not understand the full implications of simply moving out of their home, abandoning it and not paying their mortgage.

Conclusion

Don’t move out of your home solely if you are behind on your mortgage payments. Try to obtain a mortgage modification. Seek out an experienced foreclosure lawyer and review your options with him or her.New York foreclosure defense lawyer

What Happens When You Fall Behind On Your Mortgage?

To watch today’s video blog, please click on the link below:

http://youtu.be/jZT2uG0JdTI

Elliot Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer helping homeowners stay in their homes throughout the Metropolitan New York area.  He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 or send an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Bank Punished For Negotiating In Bad Faith: Court Limits Their Interest Rate to 2%

homeowner's attorneyJustice Debra Silber sitting in a Supreme Court foreclosure court in Kings County, New York recently had a case involving bad faith in negotiations by Deutsche Bank. In this case the defendant moved for, and was granted, an Order which confirmed a report of a special referee made at the foreclosure conference which found that Deutsche Bank had acted in bad faith in violation of New York Civil Practice Law and Rules section 3408(f).

Bad Faith by Bank

Justice Silber, in her decision, found the actions and inactions by Deutsche Bank clearly indicated an absence of good faith as was contemplated by the New York Statute. During a period of ten months the bank delayed the underwriting of husband’s mortgage modification application. The referee found Deutsche Bank’s failure to act during a 10 month period was a dilatory tactic. Justice Silber concluded the husband had sought to obtain a mortgage modification for a period of 6 months. He had made 18 appearances at foreclosure mediation conferences. In determining the appropriate sanction to punish Deutsche Bank for its failure to work with the defendant in this case regarding his mortgage modification application, the court decided to reduce the interest rate to 2% on the balance of the mortgage which accrued after August 1, 2010. This was the date Justice Silber deemed the bank should have approved the husband’s HAMP mortgage application. In addition, the bank and its loan servicer organization were barred from collecting attorney’s fees with regard to the foreclosure lawsuit which accrued after August 1, 2010.

Conclusion

If a bank fails to negotiate in good faith mortgage modifications at foreclosure court mediation conferences, there are remedies available to the homeowner.

foreclosure defense lawyersElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney who litigates foreclosure cases. He seeks to keep homeowners in their homes.

Bank Sanctioned For Failure to Negotiate a Mortgage Modification In Good Faith

mortgage modification attorneysA foreclosure action was referred to Justice Genine Edwards who sits in Kings County. The lawsuit had been referred to her for a bad faith and standing hearing after more than 25 foreclosure conferences had been held regarding the case during a period of more than 36 months. After numerous attempts to reach an agreement between the homeowner and the bank, a hearing was conducted by Justice Genine Edwards.

Foreclosure Court Conferences

The foreclosure court conferences had taken place before a referee. The referee had written a report which stated the defendant, Diakite had qualified for a HAMP trial mortgage modification. In addition, Diakite had made three monthly payments under the HAMP temporary mortgage modification. After the three payments were made, the bank refused to accept any further payments from Diakite.

Three Mortgage Payments Made Under The Temporary Mortgage Modification

The first three mortgage trial modification payments were accepted by Aurora Loan Services. Aurora rejected the final modification. They claimed Diakite needed to restart the process all over again since Aurora did not receive the executed mortgage modification agreement from Diakite. Diakite indicated the reason she didn’t send it to Aurora was that she had never received it in the first place. Nationstar Mortgage thereafter informed Diakite the servicing on the loan was being transferred to them from Aurora. Nationstar thereafter denied Diakite’s HAMP application. They claimed Diakite did not provide necessary documentation.

The Judge’s Decision

Justice Edwards took into consideration that while she had directed the bank to produce a copy of the mortgage and the note and any assignments which indicated proof of ownership of both instruments, the bank had failed to produce any documentation whatsoever. She concluded the record supported the referee’s report. The plaintiff had failed to negotiate in good faith pursuant to New York Civil Practice Law and Rules section 3408. Justice Edwards therefore confirmed the referee’s report and stayed all interests, costs, and attorneys fees due and owing to the bank from March 1, 2010 until October 27, 2014, the date the hearing took place before her.

Conclusion

More and more banks are being sanctioned for failure to negotiate in good faith at mortgage modification conferences. Making homeowners provide documents over and over again, not taking responsibility for misplacing the documents, or losing the documents is simply unfair. In addition, it is unfair to grant a homeowner a mortgage modification, have them pay the required amount pursuant to the modification for between three and six months and thereafter have the bank say, no we are not going to make the modification permanent.foreclosure lawyer New York

Foreclosure Defense in Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick and Bellmore, New York

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