Foreclosure Defense Attorney in Manhattan
Knowledgeable Foreclosure Lawyer in NYC
Since the housing collapse of 2008, countless people have seen their homes go into foreclosure due to an inability to pay their mortgage. Banks can seem like a faceless entity that are willing to take your home without providing any support or assistance. Millions of American homes have been abandoned or sold without the owners seeking help from a foreclosure attorney.
When you turn to the Law Office of Julio E. Portilla, P.C. our Manhattan foreclosure defense lawyer can work to ensure that your mounting mortgage bills do not result in the bank threatening foreclosure. If your home is already in foreclosure, you can still receive assistance from our experienced legal team. Many homeowners do not know the wide variety of opportunities that are available to them in terms of appeals. Others simply don’t have the time to fight for their own case. In these situations, a foreclosure attorney is necessary to ensure that you do not lose your home.
What Is Foreclosure?
Foreclosure is a legal process in which the rights to a property are taken away from the owner and the property is then sold to satisfy unpaid mortgages and liens against the property. The foreclosure process can be initiated by mortgage holders and other lien holders who have a vested interest in loans on your property, which is used as collateral.
The foreclosure process begins after a homeowner defaults—which technically occurs after one missed payment—on a home loan. The number of payments you are allowed to miss before a Notice of Default is filed and sent to you depends on the type of loan you have and should be stated on your mortgage contract. Normally, you have 90 days from the date the Notice is filed to take action to protect your home. However, you should contact an attorney to make sure of your rights and the time frame in your situation. Our NYC attorney not only represents foreclosure cases, but we also handle a variety of bankruptcy matters.
What Happens If I Miss a Payment?
If you miss one payment, your mortgage agreement likely allows for a grace period (usually 15 days) in which you can pay the amount due to avoid late fees. If you do not remit payment by the end of the grace period, your lender will contact you to attempt to collect your missed payment plus any late fees that may have accrued. Don’t ignore these calls and letters; this is your chance to attempt to make other arrangements with your lender.
If you cannot pay, or miss multiple payments, your lender must tell you what steps you should take to avoid foreclosure in a Pre-Foreclosure Notice that must sent at least 90 days before commencing foreclosure. This 90-day window gives you the opportunity to try to work with your lender to find an alternative to foreclosure.
The notice must tell you:
- How much you must pay to bring the loan current
- The names and telephone numbers of at least five government approved not-for-profit housing counseling agencies serving the region where you reside.
The loan servicer will then send a “demand” or “Acceleration” letter pointing out that terms of the mortgage have been violated. You will then be given 30 days to pay the delinquent amount and the late charge. The loan servicer will send a “demand” or “Acceleration” letter pointing out that terms of the mortgage have been violated. You will be given 30 days to pay the delinquent amount and the late charge.
What is the Foreclosure Process in New York?
- Lender Files Lawsuit: The foreclosure process officially starts when your lender files a lawsuit with a New York State Supreme Court. To begin proceedings, a mortgage holder must file a Summons and Complaint with the court and serve you with the documents. The lender also files a “Lis Pendens,” a public notice that legal action has been taken regarding your home, and a Certificate of Merit to prove ownership of the mortgage.
- Homeowner Response: You must provide a response after you receive notice of the foreclosure lawsuit. If you would like to contest the foreclosure, you should file what is called an Answer, in which you outline your defenses with the court. If you do not wish to object, you should instead file a Notice of Appearance to be notified of all actions in the proceedings. If you fail to respond, however, the court will rule in the case and may issue a default Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale.
- Settlement Conference & Meeting with the Lender: Within 60 days of your lender initiating foreclosure, the court will schedule a legally mandated settlement conference at which time you will meet with the lender’s representative to attempt to reach an alternate agreement to avoid foreclosure.
- Settlement or Litigation: If the two parties cannot agree to a settlement at the conference, the case continues in litigation. At this point, the lawsuit enters the discovery phase, during which you and your lender request pertinent information from each other in order to prepare your respective arguments. Each side must file a motion to ask the court for any action. Your mortgage holder, for example, will likely file a Motion for Summary Judgment, which asks the court to issue a judgment of foreclosure based on the evidence presented so far. If the judge declines this motion, however, the case proceeds to trial.
- Final Judgment / Auction of Home: If, at any point in the process, the judge rules in your lender’s favor, the court will issue a final judgment of foreclosure and order the auction of your home to raise funds to repay the loan. Foreclosure sales in New York are by public auction, usually at a county courthouse. The home is sold to the highest bidder and anyone, including the lender, may bid. Once payment is made and the sale is complete the winning bidder takes ownership of the property.
- Right of Redemption: You can stop the foreclosure or sale of your home by paying the total amount due to your lender. This is known as your right of redemption. Your right of redemption however must be exercised before your home is sold to the highest at a public auction. Once your home sold by a public auction, the case is over and you cannot regain ownership of your home.
According to the New York State Unified Court System, the entire foreclosure process takes about 445 days (15 months) from the date of the first missed payment to the sale of the home, although the timeline can be significantly longer, depending on several factors. To ensure that your foreclosure case is closed as quickly as possible, contact an experienced foreclosure attorney who will advocate on your behalf, letting you focus on what’s most important: keeping your home.
How Can I Stop Foreclosure?
For too many Americans, the word “foreclosure” symbolizes a feeling of powerlessness that has defined the nation’s economic climate for the past several years. If you are
looking at your financial situation and fear that a foreclosure may be on the horizon, it’s time to arm yourself with knowledge now. The good news is that there are ways to prevent foreclosure. For example, you can bring your mortgage payments current and all late charges, foreclosure fees, taxes, and insurance premiums.
Before seriously considering foreclosure, exhaust all your other options. Contact your lender and try to negotiate a plan to modify your payments, but don’t wait until the last minute to do this. Though refinancing is an arduous process, it may result in a lower interest rate and mortgage payment you can afford. A repayment plan may be an option as well; temporarily lowering payments for a time, and then paying in full when your financial situation stabilizes, may satisfy your lender. Is repayment not an option? Attempt to negotiate a short sale. If none of these alternatives work and negotiations fails, bankruptcy or a reverse mortgage may help stave off foreclosure.
Keep Personal Records
When lenders went foreclosure crazy in the latter half of the last decade, many were accused of rushing through the foreclosure process. In doing so, many cases were identified in which crucial legal documents were overlooked. The foreclosure battle is, waged with paperwork. Make sure to have copies of every document you signed involving your mortgage. Collect every communication you can, written or electronic. As you communicate with your lender, keep records of every written and electronic communication. If your foreclosure case goes to court, those documents may determine your legal fate.
Prepare for Changes in Foreclosure Law
As a result of the housing bubble crisis of the late 2000s, sweeping reform laws changed the way banks approach home foreclosure. Banks are now obligated to help individuals who cannot pay mortgages, and “fire and forget” foreclosures should now be a thing of the past. Because of these changes, the foreclosure process should be less clear-cut, more methodical, and should give you more options for avoiding foreclosure.
Other options for fighting against foreclosure include refinancing, selling your home, and or filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will stop the foreclosure proceedings and give you time to work out a plan through the courts.
Protect Your Investment
There’s no way to know for sure which way the housing market will turn in the next few years. The most important thing is that you remain informed and take advantage of the services that our Manhattan foreclosure defense attorney offers. Our legal team is compassionate about fighting for your rights during your dire situation. It is important to remember that it is never too late for you to reclaim your home when it has gone into foreclosure.
The Law Office of Julio E. Portilla, P.C. works tirelessly to ensure that you are able to keep your home. Our Manhattan foreclosure attorney understand that people going into foreclosure cannot pay for their own housing at the moment. Our cost-effective services are designed to help you catch up with your mortgage. You can rest easy knowing that your home is safe from future threats of foreclosure as well.
Frequently Asked Questions About Foreclosure
Can I Offer a Short Sale?
Absolutely–the short sale is a preferred option for homeowners. However, banks don’t like the idea of not collecting money on a loan they’ve already signed for.
While a short sale is a difficult option, it is definitely preferable to foreclosure and should be explored if possible.
Will I Be Forced to Leave My Home?
If you do not make mortgage payments on your home, then you will be asked to leave. Technically, the property still belongs to the lending institution.
Once I’m Foreclosed On, Do I Still Owe Money?
If the bank sells the home after foreclosure and fails to recoup the value of their investment, then you may be liable for the difference. This sometimes results in lawsuits, in which case retaining legal defense is expedient.
The Law Office of Julio E. Portilla, P.C., is always available to answer your questions.
Meet Our Dedicated Attorney Julio E. Portilla
"I will fight to protect your legal rights under the law."Attorney Profile
Read Our 5 Star Reviews
Stories from people we have helped.Read Here
View Our Firm Blog
See recent news on bankruptcy, family law, personal injury, and real estate litigation topics.Read More