Foreclosure Defense: What Are You Entitled to in Pennsylvania
Most Americans dream of owning a home. Most of those who realize that dream do so with a mortgage loan. It is not uncommon for homeowners to borrow as much as the bank will allow in order to buy the largest or nicest home they can afford. Unfortunately, that large loan is a burden for some homeowners and they may fall behind on their payments, leading the bank to begin foreclosure proceedings. While it may feel like the banks hold all the power in these situations, homeowners retain certain rights under Pennsylvania law. A foreclosure defense attorney can help homeowners to protect their rights and potentially retain ownership of the home.
What Happens When A Homeowner Misses A Mortgage Payment?
Missing a mortgage payment sets in motion a process that can end in foreclosure, but thankfully, that is not the first step. Mortgages come with a grace period of fifteen days before a late fee is added to the missed payment. If you miss more than two or three mortgage payments, the bank will reach out to you to remind you to make your payment. While it may be tempting to ignore these calls or letters, don’t! If you explain your situation, the lender may be willing to work out a new payment plan with you, such as a mortgage modification, forbearance, or a payment plan. You will never know if you don’t ask.
Once you are 120 days behind on your mortgage payments, the lender can initiate foreclosure. Under Pennsylvania law, the lender must provide the homeowner with a 30 day intent to foreclose. The lender must also provide the homeowner with a notice describing homeowner’s rights and programs available to help prevent foreclosure. One such program is the Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program available through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Under most Pennsylvania mortgages, the lender must also send the homeowner a notice known as a breach or demand letter stating that the loan is in default, what actions could correct the default, a date by which the default must be cured, and that a failure to cure the default by that date will result in acceleration of the debt and sale of the property.
How Can A Foreclosure Defense Lawyer Help?
Once all of these steps are taken, under Pennsylvania law the lender must file a lawsuit in court. The complaint will be served to the homeowner, who then has 30 days to respond. This response period gives the homeowner an opportunity to defend himself against these allegations. A foreclosure defense lawyer can present a foreclosure defense to stop or slow down foreclosure proceedings. This legal defense will force the lender to prove that it has the right to foreclose on the home. The lender may have made errors that violate the homeowner’s rights. For example, the lender may not have followed the specific sequence of events detailed above to initiate foreclosure. The lender may have lost paperwork during foreclosure proceedings, initiated foreclosure too soon, or even made errors in the initial mortgage loan. A foreclosure defense lawyer will investigate all of these scenarios to ensure that the homeowner’s rights have not been violated and look for potential paths out of foreclosure, such as catching up on your payments, loan modification, or selling your home.
If you have been served with a notice to foreclose on your home, call Bartifay Law Offices today. A foreclosure defense attorney may be just what you need to stay out of foreclosure and in your home.