Documents Used to Obtain a Mortgage

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

Judge Eliminates All Past and Future Interest in a Foreclosure Lawsuit Due To Bank’s Bad Faith

foreclosure defense on Long IslandLaSalle Bank had brought a foreclosure legal action in the Supreme Court in Suffolk County. In its pleadings the bank claimed they were both the owner and holder of the note which was secured by a mortgage. The defendant in the case did not deny he had defaulted in making 4 mortgage payments. His default was directly related to the fact he was in jail. However, he brought an application to the court requesting all interest on the foreclosed home be eliminated. He claimed LaSalle Bank had unreasonably delayed the legal proceedings in the foreclosure action. They had requested numerous duplicative document demands.

Numerous Duplicative Document Production Requests

The case was heard before Justice Jeffrey Arlen Spinner sitting in the Supreme Court in Suffolk County. Justice Spinner found there were numerous duplicative document production demands. The homeowner had appeared 24 separate times for mandatory settlement conferences. Judge Spinner found LaSalle Bank had not complied with HAMP guidelines. In addition, he found they failed to negotiate with the homeowner in good faith. Justice Spinner found due to LaSalle’s bad faith and the bad faith of their servicing agents, all present, past and future interest on the mortgage in this foreclosure lawsuit was to be eliminated.


Banks need to cooperate to make the HAMP work or they will be punished by judges.helping homeowners stay in their homes

Appellate Court Addresses Bad Faith by Financial Institution in Foreclosure Proceeding

foreclosure defense lawyerThe Appellate Division of the Second Department is an Appeals Court in New York. This court recently rendered a decision with regard to the issue of a bank negotiating in good faith at foreclosure court conferences. In the matter of U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Sarmiento the court upheld a decision by a Supreme Court judge which prevented the collection of interest or fees which had been accumulating on a loan since December 2009. The court in its decision stated “the issue of whether a party failed to negotiate in good faith within the meaning of CPLR 3408(f) should be determined by considering what the totality of the circumstances demonstrates that the party’s conduct did not constitute a meaningful effort at reaching a resolution.”

Mortgage on Home in Brooklyn

U.S. Bank held a mortgage of approximately $600,000 on a home in Brooklyn owned by Jose Sarmiento. In May 2008, Mr. Sarmiento lost his job. He was in touch with the mortgage servicing company, America’s Servicing Company, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo. He was told he did not meet their qualifications with regard to a mortgage modification. They claimed he didn’t make enough money. He thereafter defaulted on making the payments under his loan. However he found a tenant who was willing to pay rent and asked for another opportunity to submit a mortgage modification application. The servicing company refused his request. The court found Civil Practice Law and Rules section 3408 (f) states “both the plaintiff and defendant shall negotiate in good faith to reach a mutually agreeable resolution including the loan modification, if possible.” The court’s decision indicated between September 2009 and January 2011 there were 18 separate court conferences. The referee in charge of these conferences found the servicing organization mishandled various aspects of the negotiations. Documents were misplaced and denials were made on erroneous grounds. That mortgage modification actually wasn’t appropriate for Mr. Sarmiento.

Bank Prevented Settlement of the Case

The court found the bank prevented the reasonable settlement of this case. The attorney for Sarmiento indicated this court’s decision gives homeowners “a sword against lenders and they can use it immediately.” He further stated the bank was prevented from collecting over $300,000 in interest in this case. A spokesman for Wells Fargo stated their company “works hard to help our customers avoid foreclosure and communications during the modification process.”

Foreclosure Court Conference

Our office handles numerous foreclosure court conferences each and every week. We often find the banks hire per diem lawyers who know nothing about the case and have no authority to negotiate with the homeowner’s attorney at these conferences. The failure of banks to send attorneys who have authority to deal with important issues at these foreclosure court conferences is a violation of the good faith requirements of the statute which created these foreclosure court conferences. In essence it makes the foreclosure court conferences a waste of time!helping homeowners stay in their homes

Predatory Lending Explained

foreclosure defense advocatesThere have been numerous newspaper articles, stories on television and internet articles concerning predatory lending issues. There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what constitutes predatory lending.

Predatory lending refers to practices engaged in by banks, mortgage companies, mortgage brokers, real estate agents and title representatives which involve dishonesty. Most consumers do not have an expertise regarding obtaining consumer mortgages for residential property. Predatory lending practices take advantage of the lack of knowledge prospective homeowners have when they seek to obtain mortgages to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage. Predatory lending schemes can violate both federal and New York State law.

Examples of Various Predatory Lending Practices

  1. Preparing paperwork for homeowners for loans they cannot afford to make the payments on.
  2. Obtaining false inflated appraisals on homes.
  3. Convincing prospective homeowners to lie on their applications with regard to inflating their income.
  4. Engaging in racial profiling and convincing minority individuals to take out sub-prime mortgage loans.
  5. Charging excessive fees and expenses for preparation of the paperwork with regard to a mortgage application.
  6. Quoting one interest rate or set of terms regarding a mortgage and then later charging a higher interest rate or additional fees and charges.

Auditing Loan Documents

One of the methods to determine whether predatory lending was involved in a transaction and/or whether the loan and the closing on the transaction were handled properly is to obtain a loan audit. Loan audits can provide documentation with regard to predatory lending issues, violations of truth in lending laws, violation of New York State banking laws, fraudulent practices and other unethical or illegal aspects of the mortgage transaction.

Loan audits can show a variety of improper and bad practices engaged in by a financial institution and/or other individuals involved in the mortgage loan process. Among other things, the mortgage audit can reveal fraud on behalf of the financial institution and/or its employees or agents, misrepresentation with regard to the terms and circumstances of the loan, breaches by the financial institution of the contractual obligations and a variety of other issues which can be utilized as a defense to a foreclosure lawsuit.


There has been a lot of predatory lending in the past five to ten years by financial institutions. Just simply alleging predatory lending was involved in a transaction is not enough. The facts and circumstances of predatory lending must be proven.homeowner advocates on long island

Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Keeping Your Home – Part II

foreclosure and bankruptcy attorneys on Long IslandProperty Exemptions in New York

There is a homestead exemption for homes, co-ops, condos, and mobile homes of $150,000 within the Counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Richmond, Kings, Queens, New York, and the Bronx. (If the title to the house were in the name of a husband and wife, each of the parties, if they filed a joint bankruptcy, would have a $150,000 homestead exemption. Therefore $300,000 of equity in the parties’ home could be protected in a bankruptcy proceeding.)

The extent of the New York bankruptcy exemptions and the ability to use these exemptions to save the equity in a home can be further brought out by the following example. In this example a husband and wife own a home worth $600,000. They have a mortgage on the home of $300,000. They are up to date on their mortgage payments. They have credit card debt and other unsecured debt of $100,000. In this case, if the parties qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as a result of filing bankruptcy, the parties could eliminate their $100,000 in unsecured debt. Instead of making the payments on credit cards and the other unsecured debts, they can now utilize those funds to pay their mortgage. The fact they had $300,000 of equity in their house would not create a problem because each of the parties could utilize their $150,000 exemption. (Please be advised that this only works in the counties referred to above).


Bankruptcy is not usually the best way to handle being served with a summons and complaint in a foreclosure lawsuit, however, in the right circumstance it is a viable option.assistance for homeowners facing bankruptcy

Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Keeping Your Home – Part I

foreclosure assistance for homeownersCan you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, eliminate all of your debts other than your mortgage obligation, and still keep your home? The answer to this question is, yes! If you are current on your mortgage payments when you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to protect the equity in your house, if any, by using the New York Bankruptcy Exemptions. You can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, eliminate all of your credit card debt, personal obligations, debts to lawyers, doctors, medical debts, money judgments, car repossession deficiencies, and all types of other personal obligations in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

After going through the bankruptcy and eliminating all of your debt besides the mortgage, you will be in a better position to make your mortgage payments. You won’t have all the other creditors calling you on the phone and sending letters demanding payments.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee

When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court appoints a bankruptcy trustee to review your case. The trustee reviews your petition and thereafter asks you questions under oath at a creditor’s meeting at the courthouse. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee is interested in looking into whether you have property which can be sold to benefit your creditors. If the trustee cannot find property which is not protected by bankruptcy exemptions and has marketable equity in it, the trustee will close your case and not go after your property.helping homeowners stay in their homes

Why Should You Hire An Attorney To Represent You In A Foreclosure Lawsuit?

foreclosure attorney on long islandYour home is most likely your most significant single asset. It is a place where you and your family reside. It is the place where you can escape the rest of the world. Your own little castle. If you fall behind on your mortgage, you may face the situation where a bank will bring a foreclosure legal action to take your home back. This will create enormous stress and aggravation upon you and your family.

The legal system and especially the issues, tactics, and procedures involved in a foreclosure lawsuit are not generally known to the public at large. There are specific time restraints. There are obligations of the bank to file legal documents, court appearances that must be made, and applications that can be submitted to the court, and legal defenses that can be asserted.

What Can You Do To Save Your Home?

The most logical answer is to hire a foreclosure attorney with extensive experience in litigating with financial institutions for the purpose of saving family’s homes, obtaining mortgage modifications, and investigating improper bank practices such as bad assignments, and predatory lending.

Receiving Foreclosure Notice From The Bank

A financial institution or bank is supposed to provide you with 90 days notice that your home is going into foreclosure. After this 90 day period, they can serve you with a Summons and Complaint. When served with a Summons and Complaint in a foreclosure proceeding, you have 20 days to file an Answer with opposing counsel and the court, if served personally, and 30 days if served by any other means. This is an important statute of limitations which can have a major effect on the foreclosure lawsuit.

You must submit an Answer to the Summons and Complaint in the proper legal form or else you default in responding to the lawsuit. This can cause serious consequences for you and your family. Failure to submit the appropriate Answer with affirmative defenses and counterclaims within the statute of limitations time period for responding to a Summons and Complaint, eliminates your ability to legally defend the foreclosure lawsuit. It is therefore extremely important when served with a Summons and Complaint in a foreclosure that you contact a foreclosure defense lawyer to discuss your options. The early involvement of a foreclosure defense lawyer can save you from losing your home.

Improper Bank Practices

The writer of this article has dealt with scores of cases in which banks have been involved in all types of improper bank practices. Robo-signers executing inappropriate documents are one example. Bad assignments from one financial institution to another is a second example. Violations of Federal, State, and New York City banking laws with regard to the handling of the foreclosure or the underwriting of the loan are additional examples of potential defenses in a foreclosure lawsuit. Some of these defenses, if properly submitted, can stop the lawsuit in its tracks, and in some occasions, even get the case completely dismissed.

Faced With Foreclosure? Call Us!

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo deal with foreclosure lawsuits and foreclosure issues virtually every day. Our firm litigates cases throughout the Metropolitan New York area, on Long Island, the five boroughs, the City of New York and Westchester. We have an unparalleled history of success in keeping our clients in their homes. Even in situations where the bank or financial institution is right and our clients are completely wrong, the average case handled by our office takes between 3 and 5 years to get through the courts.

Call us for a free consultation. Our phones are monitored 24/7 and we offer free consultations to prospective clients. Our phone numbers are 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645, and 718-350-2802.homeowner advocates on long island

The Effect of Bankruptcy on Foreclosure

foreclosure assistance for homeownersIf my debts are discharged in bankruptcy, is the foreclosure over? Even if your debts are discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, your foreclosure problems are not over. If you discharge your unsecured debts and you enter into an arrangement to reaffirm the mortgage and make your mortgage payments your problems with the bank foreclosure may be over. In most cases involving a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the personal obligation portion of the mortgage debt is discharged (erased) but the lien portion of the mortgage on your home still exists.

The Mortgage

A mortgage actually involves two separate and distinct documents. The first document is the promissory note which can be simply described as an I Owe You (IOU). The second item is a lien. Liens on real property in the State of New York are referred to as mortgages.

The Promissory Note

The purpose of the promissory note is to lay out the terms of the financial transaction, such as the amount you are borrowing, the interest rate, and the payment arrangements. The promissory note is actually the document that creates the personal financial obligation to the bank.

The lien which is placed on your home acts as a type of collateral to secure your repaying the IOU (personal obligation portion of your debt). The lien gives the bank security in your home. Even if you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy and discharge the personal obligation (IOU portion) of your debt, the lien still exists and the bank, when obtaining the release from the automatic stay from the federal bankruptcy court, can move forward with the foreclosure on your home.

The benefit of the chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge will prevent the bank from obtaining a deficiency judgment against you. A deficiency judgment involves a situation where the bank sells your home for less than is owed and goes after the balance of the funds they are owed.


A discharge in a chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges all of your personal obligations, except those which are designated as non-dischargeable by statute. After you receive a discharge, the automatic stay from the bankruptcy court will eventually be lifted. Once it is lifted, the bank will still be able to move forward with the foreclosure in a New York State Court unless you have made a payment arrangement with the financial institution.

So what can you do? Meet with a skilled foreclosure attorney. Find out what your rights are, your remedies are, and the best way to proceed.homeowner advocates

Foreclosure Truths and Falsehoods – Part II

foreclosure defense attorneyFighting The Foreclosure Lawsuit

3. Can I fight a foreclosure case on my own or do I need a lawyer?

You technically do not need to hire a lawyer to fight a foreclosure case. In theory you can represent yourself. But let’s look at the facts.

The financial institutions bringing the foreclosure proceedings are multi-billion dollar institutions. Banks such as Chase Manhattan are worth as much as a trillion dollars. The lawyers the banks hire to bring the foreclosure lawsuits specialize in foreclosure litigation. Many of these law firms have been operational for more than 25 years and are experts in handling foreclosure litigation. Unless you are very knowledgeable and experienced in the law regarding foreclosures, it would be a terrible mistake to try to defend yourself in a foreclosure proceeding. Experienced foreclosure lawyers have expertise in litigating foreclosure cases. Our law firm has been representing clients in foreclosure cases for more than 20 years. We have scores of cases pending, and many of our clients have been in their homes more than 6 years since the foreclosure proceedings were initiated against them.

Trying to represent yourself at a foreclosure proceeding, although legally appropriate, is almost always a mistake. You need to retain the right lawyer. You should look for a law firm that has extensive experience in representing clients in foreclosure lawsuits.

Loan Modifications

4. Are loan modifications the answer to foreclosure problems?

Loan modifications are the answer for many families’ foreclosure problems. However, they do not work if you have lost your job, are disabled, or have very little cash flow. Banks are not social service organizations. They are in business to make money. They make the mortgage loans to homeowners with the hope of making a profit on these loans.

There are various mortgage modification programs. However, the success rate consumers have in obtaining mortgage modifications runs approximately 20%. Sometimes the best way to motivate a bank to provide you with a mortgage modification is to aggressively litigate the foreclosure case and let them know you are not going to take this matter lying down. Foreclosure defense lawyers utilize the mandatory foreclosure conference parts to press the financial institutions into providing the clients with reasonable mortgage modifications. The failure of a financial institution to negotiate in good faith can be used as a defense in the foreclosure lawsuit.

Walking Away From Your House

5. Your loan modification was denied, should you turn over your home to the bank?


Approximately 80% of the people who apply for loan modifications don’t receive permanent loan modifications. This does not mean you are going to be forced out of your home in the near future. Sophisticated foreclosure defense law firms file answers with numerous affirmative defenses and a variety of countersuits against the financial institutions. They can also demand documents, records and other material from the banks which may be embarrassing or may show the banks have violated federal and state laws. This can put further pressure on financial institutions to grant the client’s mortgage modifications.

Facing Foreclosure: What Do You Do?

6. What should I really do if I am behind on my mortgage and facing foreclosure?

Simply stated, call us. The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been helping New Yorkers fight foreclosures and stay in their homes for more than two decades. We have an unparalleled record of success. Our law firm is known to the bank attorneys, the court personnel, and the judges. Call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645, or 718-350-2802 for a free consultation. We will keep you in your home!assisting homeowners

Foreclosure and Reverse Mortgages

real estate and elder care attorneysThe purpose of a reverse mortgage is to allow seniors who have homes with substantial equity to pull the equity out of their home and still be able to reside in the home for the rest of their lifetime without making mortgage payments. The difference between a reverse mortgage and a traditional conventional mortgage is the individual taking out the loan under a reverse mortgage does not have to make monthly mortgage payments. The lender only gets paid when the mortgagor dies, or in the event of the sale of the home prior to the mortgagor’s death.

No Personal Obligation to Pay a Reverse Mortgage

There is no personal obligation on the mortgagor to make payments with a reverse mortgage like there is in a traditional mortgage. The only method the financial institution has to collect under a reverse mortgage is from the sale of the home. The lender is therefore exposed to not being capable of having its loan repaid should the market conditions reduce the value of the home or the home be in poor condition. However, the lender can obtain insurance from HUD to protect it from the risk of the home not being worth the amount of the loan plus interest.

Underwriting Reverse Mortgages

The loans are underwritten by financial institutions based on a number of factors. The older the mortgagor is, the more money can be obtained in the mortgage. This takes into consideration the fact that the older the mortgagor is, the smaller his or her life expectancy will be. The shorter life expectancy allows the loan to become due and payable earlier in time.

In the event there are co-mortgagors on the loan, the loan is not called due until the second of the two mortgagors dies.

Problems with Reverse Mortgages

In recent years, when homes were owned by husbands and wives and one of the spouses was older than the other, the banks would convince the younger spouse to deed his or her share of the property to the older spouse. This action was taken so the underwriter would allow a larger amount of money to be borrowed in the mortgage based on the shorter life expectancy of the older spouse. The younger spouses were assured in the event the older spouse dies, they would be allowed to continue to reside in the house. Unfortunately, that is not what happened! When the older spouse, the mortgagor, died the surviving spouse was notified by the financial institutions the reverse mortgage was due and payable because the surviving spouse was not a party to the mortgage loan. Since the surviving spouse was also a senior, and had limited cash flow in most situations, he or she was unable to make the mortgage payments and therefore the house would end up in foreclosure.

HUD has recently dealt with this issue.

New HUD Policy

With regard to all reverse mortgages that are given by financial institutions after August 4, 2014, the new rule requires the non-borrowing spouse who had been married to the borrowing spouse (mortgagor), at the time of the closing, will be afforded protection by this rule and the financial institutions will not be permitted to bring foreclosure lawsuits against the surviving spouse or request payment of the mortgage upon the death of the spouse who was on the mortgage. The financial institution will not be entitled to bring a foreclosure proceeding until the surviving spouse also dies. It should be noted this rule only applies to parties who were actually married at the time the mortgage was taken out. In the event a reverse mortgage is taken out and then the mortgagor marries, that surviving spouse would not be included under this new rule and would need to either pay off the mortgage or have the house subject to being foreclosed upon.assisting homeowners

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