Foreclosure Defense Facts: Keeping Your Home When Facing Foreclosure – Part II

foreclosure defense attorneys for homeownersDo I Need A Lawyer To Help Me Litigate The Foreclosure Case?

The answer to this question is yes. In theory you can submit an Answer and represent yourself. However the law firm representing the bank usually brings hundreds of lawsuits against consumers. They usually have an expertise in foreclosing on homes and having the homes sold at auction on the courthouse steps. If you do not hire a lawyer, you will find yourself in an extremely disadvantaged situation. You will not understand the laws, the court rules, and the procedures involved in fighting a foreclosure case. Retaining a law firm who has fought hundreds of cases and has a successful record such as our law firm puts you in the best situation to keep your home, obtain a mortgage modification, and/or get the foreclosure lawsuit dismissed.

You Can Obtain A Mortgage Modification

You will have the opportunity to modify your mortgage under the auspices of the mandatory mortgage modification conference. New York requires, in all foreclosure lawsuits, a mandatory settlement conference on residential mortgage foreclosure cases. At the foreclosure settlement conference you will have an opportunity to apply for a mortgage modification. Even if you have already been turned down, you can apply for another mortgage modification under the supervision of the referees in the mandatory foreclosure settlement conference part in the courthouse.helping homeowners stay in their homes

Court Rules Aimed at Helping Homeowners

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer.   Elliot and his associates help their clients obtain mortgage modifications, defend foreclosure lawsuits, and counter sue banks.  Elliot can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to

The Impact of Foreclosures on the Rental Market

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer.  He can be reached by telephone at 516-561-6645, or 718-350-2802 or by email to

Knowledge Of False Information In Financial Documents Used In a Mortgage Transaction Bars Recovery

foreclosure defense attorneysJudge Joseph Bianco, sitting in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, recently had a case involving various improprieties concerning the acquisition of a mortgage. Plaintiffs, in this case, had obtained a mortgage on their home from Countrywide Mortgage Company (hereinafter referred to as “Countrywide”) in the year 2004.

After experiencing financial difficulties involving large credit card debt and anticipating a potential bankruptcy and/or foreclosure proceeding, they obtained a second mortgage on their home in the year 2008. Both the first mortgage and the second mortgage were combined in a “Consolidation, Extension and Modification Agreement (CEMA)”. The plaintiffs presented arguments that the 2008 transaction was fraudulent. They claimed Countrywide placed false financial information into their mortgage application in 2008. They also claim Countrywide concealed the 2004 mortgage was “split” from its underlying note as a result of the assigning of the mortgage to the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.

Judge Bianco after considering the arguments rendered a split decision. He rendered a decision dismissing the plaintiffs’ allegations of fraud because they had actual knowledge false financial information was contained in the 2008 mortgage loan documents. In spite of the fact they knew the information was false, they executed these documents. He went on further to say although the plaintiffs allege the 2004 mortgage note was invalid, their “splitting” theory was not in compliance with New York State’s “principal-incident rule”. A mortgage is unenforceable if it is detached from its note. However, the note is enforceable even if it is not maintained with the mortgage.

Quiet Title Claim Allowed to Continue

Although Judge Bianco dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims of fraud to set aside the 2004 and 2008 transactions, he did allow the lawsuit to continue under the theory the plaintiffs’ may be entitled to quiet title on this matter. Quiet title means having the mortgage rendered invalid against the property and the removal of the lien from the property.

foreclosure advocate for homeownersElliot Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney representing families who seek to fight foreclosure lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

New Mortgage Rules’ Negative Impact on the Housing Industry

foreclosure defense attorneyThere are new rules which affect financial institutions involved in the mortgage business in the United States. Lenders have to be able to verify the individuals they loan money to can repay their home mortgages. This is pursuant to the new rules designed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Dodd- Frank Law that regulates Wall Street.

New Consumer Protection Laws

Under the new consumer protection laws, banks have to take into consideration a variety of factors when making mortgage loans. Included in these factors are the income of the borrower, the financial health of the borrower, the borrower’s credit history, and his or her other debts. The purpose of the reform law is to prevent the meltdown in the home mortgage industry that took place between 2000 and 2009 which caused millions of Americans to have their homes sold in foreclosure sales. The new statutes seek to prevent lenders from engaging in loaning funds for home mortgages to individuals who simply cannot afford to pay back the loans.

Other Aspects of The New Consumer Protection Laws

The law deals with a homeowner’s ability to pay their mortgage has created a lot of concern for financial institutions. Mortgage lenders are concerned if the homeowners fail to make their mortgage payments and their homes are foreclosed on by banks they will claim in the foreclosure actions the financial institutions had known or should have known that they couldn’t afford to make the mortgage payments under these loans.

New Regulations Affect Low Income Prospective Homeowners

Experts in the mortgage industry are claiming the new regulations will make it very difficult for low income prospective homeowners to qualify for mortgage loans. They claim the new regulations will give the banks less flexibility in working with low income mortgagors. The regulations also regulate mortgage servicing companies.

helping homeowners stay in their homesElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer representing homeowners facing foreclosure lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

Foreclosures and the Rental Market on Homes

foreclosure defense attorneysThe large number of foreclosures due to the housing bubble in the United States has created an abundance of homes available for rental purposes. Approximately 20% of all single family homes are now rentals. The large number of single family homes being rented is related to the boom and bust of the recent real estate cycle. The significant number of homes sold in foreclosure proceedings have created an availability of homes for rental by families. In addition, millions of homeowners have lost their homes in foreclosure lawsuits. These families need a place to live. The availability of other homes that have been foreclosed on can be rented by them to meet their need for a place to live.

In addition to homes being foreclosed, homeowners who need cash flow are putting their homes on the market as rentals. They are even doing this during the foreclosure process. Since the foreclosure process in many states takes years, homeowners can literally move out of their home, charge rent to a tenant, and put the rental money in their pockets and not make their mortgage payments.

Rentals are Better than Vacant Homes

Officials in local areas have a preference for foreclosed homes to be rented instead of being left vacant. Vacant homes can be a blight on a neighborhood. They can invite trespassers and can be utilized by children for inappropriate purposes.

Although renting a home does provide a family with a place to live, it may not be their first choice. Their more likely first choice would be to stay in the home they had owned and not to have lost it in foreclosure.

assisting homeownersElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer representing homeowners, fighting financial institutions and banks to stay in their homes. Elliot and his associates have been protecting homeowners and keeping them in their homes for more than 20 years.

New Mortgage Rules: Too Little, Too Late!

foreclosure defense attorneysA new agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been established. The purpose of this agency is to see to it we do not end up in another real estate bubble related to improper, unfair and illegal mortgage practices by financial institutions.

Owning one’s home is the American dream. The process of purchasing a home involves applying for a mortgage. Mortgage brokers and loan officers at banks seek to simplify this process. However, applying for a mortgage loan is generally the largest financial transaction a family enters into. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is set up pursuant to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. New applications and forms are created by this statute. They are supposed to be in simplified, easy to read, and involve complete disclosure.

Financial institutions are supposed to clearly provide individuals applying for the mortgage with information concerning the actual cost of the loan. The principal amount. The amount of interest they are being charged and what they will spend in closing costs. The forms must also contain information concerning other aspects of the financial transaction including but not limited to whether there will be prepayment penalties and other costs related to the financing. The new law goes a long way to simplifying and clarifying this process for prospective home buyers. However, it does not go far enough.

Failure of the New Mortgage Rules

What the new forms do not do is provide the prospective homeowner with a logical basis to compare loan products from different financial institutions. The new loan forms do not include various costs related to the purchase of a home. Some of the costs these forms do not deal with are title insurance, closing expenses related to taxes, fuel oil costs to heat the house, and attorneys fees for hiring an attorney for legal representation.

No Three Day Right to Review

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had initially requested that all financial institutions be required to give the mortgagors a three day right to review the information whenever loan terms concerning the transaction are changed or modified. Unfortunately, this rule was not established. Lenders still have the ability to present the mortgagors, at the time of the closing, with changes in the cost structure of the financing. This is both unfair and unreasonable. You have homeowners sitting at the table at their closing expecting to pay one amount for the financing of their home and being told at the last minute, it is going to cost you more. They are too deep into the transaction to walk away. They are stuck with a higher cost of their mortgage. This is true even if the higher costs are beyond their ability to pay. Lenders should be forced to live up to the terms of their proposals when they offer prospective homeowners mortgages. They should not be allowed to change the terms at the last minute to the prospective homeowners detriment.

The establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law was a great idea. Unfortunately, this great idea has not worked out completely to consumer’s benefit.

helping homeowners stay in their homesElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer with more than 35 years of legal experience. He litigates foreclosure lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He keeps families in their homes and helps them obtain mortgage modifications.

Stopping Foreclosure in Its Tracks

foreclosure defense attorneysTimes are tough in New York right now. Many businesses have downsized their employees. This has caused layoffs. It is harder to make a living in New York today than it was in earlier decades. Financial difficulties can cause stress. The ultimate problem consumers face is when they receive notice the bank is going to foreclose on their home and put them on the street. Receiving notice your home is going into foreclosure can be deflating. However help exists.

You can take legal action to stop foreclosures from moving forward in New York. You do not have to surrender to the financial institutions and be forced out of your home at a time when your credit is at its lowest point. Hiring an experienced, dedicated foreclosure attorney can make the difference between continuing to live in your home and being forced out of it.

There are numerous steps a foreclosure defense lawyer can take to help homeowners. Forbearance agreements can be negotiated. Mortgage modifications can be submitted. Mortgage modifications can sometimes reduce the principal, provide lower interest rates and more flexible terms. Some lenders are willing to defer significant portions of the mortgage indebtedness to later points in time. When applying for a mortgage modification, it is important the homeowner show financial difficulties. Mortgage modifications are designed to help homeowners who are in distress. Our foreclosure defense lawyers can counsel you with regard to the best route to take with regard to mortgage modifications.

Federal House Authority (FHA) Mortgages

There are special programs set up by the Federal House Administration with regard to homeowners who lose their jobs and have financial difficulties paying their mortgages. The program for unemployed homeowners can excuse the homeowner from paying their mortgage for a period of up to one year. During this period of time, the bank will be unable to foreclose. Our foreclosure attorneys can help you prepare the necessary paperwork and make the application to participate in this program. We can also intercede with regard to the bank or financial institution to help you deal with your current financial difficulties.

Foreclosure Court Proceedings

Foreclosure lawsuits are started by the service of a Summons and Complaint by the financial institution’s attorneys on the homeowner. When a homeowner receives a Summons and Complaint they have between twenty and thirty days to take action to stop the foreclosure in its tracks. Our law firm, when defending a homeowner, immediately files between eighteen and twenty five affirmative defenses. We also regularly countersue (sue the bank) as part of the lawsuit. The squeaky wheel gets more grease is an expression. We stand out from the crowd when defending our clients in foreclosure lawsuits. We pressure the financial institutions to make mortgage modifications and/or withdraw their lawsuits. Legal action can be taken to tie the cases up in court any where from three to six years in the Metropolitan New York area.

In Foreclosure? Do Not Despair

The worst thing you can do if your bank threatens to sue you in foreclosure or serves a Summons and Complaint upon you is to do nothing! If you take no action to defend yourself in the court by submitting a written answer to the bank’s lawyer and to the court, you default. By defaulting, you give the financial institution a win. It is like lying down to die. Don’t do it.

assisting homeownersIf you are facing foreclosure, call us. We will offer you a free consultation. We will provide you with a road map as to what we can do to keep you in your home and defend you in the foreclosure lawsuit. We will give you a written itemized retainer which shows what we will charge you, the basis of our charges, and what we can do for you. Help exists. God helps those who help themselves. If you have foreclosure problems, call us. We are the law firm that can help you. The phones at our law office are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can be reached at 1-800-344-6431, 718-350-2802 or 516-561-6645.

Federal Government Moves Against Banks

foreclosure defense attorneyThe United States government has brought several lawsuits against some of the largest banks in the world. The purpose of these lawsuits was to hold these banks accountable for their mortgage fraud practices. As a result of legal action, JP Morgan Chase entered into a settlement whereupon they have to pay $5.1 billion dollars to the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This settlement dealt with allegations related to toxic mortgage securities packaged and sold by JP Morgan Chase which was one of the causes of the financial crisis in America. This settlement was part of a larger settlement involving a $13 billion dollar payment between JP Morgan Chase and federal and state officials with regard to the bank’s improper mortgage practices.

Bank of America

A federal jury has found Bank of America was responsible for mortgage fraud during the financial crisis. Prosecutors in the case are asking for approximately $850 million dollars in damages from Bank of America.

Banks Charged for Their Bad Behavior

It is important that the government, even though it is long after the fact, is taking the appropriate legal action to find banks responsible for their wrongdoing which created the mortgage crisis in America.

Homeowners Not Compensated

The settlement between the federal government, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America allocates approximately $4 billion dollars in financial relief to homeowners who were victimized by improper mortgage practices. Considering the hundreds of billions of dollars homeowners have lost, this is a mere pittance. The government should have required a much larger fine from JP Morgan Chase for its improper mortgage actions and mortgage fraud.


The government’s action concerning illegal mortgage practices taken against large banks is too little too late!helping homeowners stay in their homes

Low Down Payment Mortgages

foreclosure defense lawyerLow down payment and no down payment mortgages played a significant role in the mortgage bubble that developed during the housing boom in the United States. When the housing market crashed, many of the families who had obtained mortgages with little or no down payment found their homes worth less than their mortgages and they had no ability to make their monthly mortgage payments. The reality of the situation was consumers were buying homes they could not possibly afford to keep over the long run.
Although it is difficult to obtain a no down payment or low down payment mortgage today, there are still avenues available to obtain these types of mortgages.

FHA Mortgage Loans

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has a loan program where they provide financial guarantees for individuals to obtain mortgages with down payments as low as 3.5%. Although the FHA actually doesn’t act as a direct lender, this federal agency insures loans by financial institutions that provides the financial institution security to offer low down payment mortgages.

Lower Credit Scores

The FHA will provide mortgages to potential home buyers with credit scores as low as 575. FHA mortgages come with restrictions. To begin with, there are caps on the house price related to the region the house is located in. Secondly, the home must be purchased to be used as a principal place of residence. FHA loans cannot be used to purchase investment property.

When an individual or family obtains a low down payment loan from the FHA, they are required to purchase private mortgage insurance. This private mortgage insurance protects the financial institution in the event the homeowner is unable to make his home payments or there is insufficient equity in the home to pay back the mortgage at time of the sale of the home. This private insurance program requires an up front insurance premium that is part of the underwriting costs of the loan. In addition, the homeowner must make monthly payments. Due to the additional private mortgage insurance premiums, the monthly mortgage payments on FHA loans are usually higher than those of conventional mortgage loans.

Veterans Administration Mortgage Loans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a mortgage loan program for members in the military and former military members. This allows men and women who served their country to obtain a mortgage with no down payment. Similar to the FHA, the VA doesn’t actually make the loans. What they do is they provide insurance which motivates private lenders to participate in this program. There are specific eligibility requirements under the VA mortgage loan program. VA mortgage loans also carry fees at the time of closing, however they do not require private mortgage insurance, which is required under the FHA program. VA loans are an attractive means of purchasing homes for Americans who served their country in the military.

Private Financial Institutions

As indicated earlier in this article, low down payment and no down payment loans were part of the reason for the housing bubble that existed in this country for the past seven years. Although banks have become more aggressive in marketing conventional mortgage loans, new government regulations related to the Dodd-Frank Act which go into effect on January 10, 2014, will make it very unlikely financial institutions will pursue these type of mortgage loans in the future.

homeowner advocatesElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney with more than 20 years experience fighting foreclosure lawsuits. He represents homeowners with foreclosure problems in the metropolitan New York area.

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