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Mistakes on foreclosure documents can help you defend your home

Your home is your biggest investment, and a lot of your monthly income goes straight into it. In addition to your mortgage, insurance and taxes, you likely put money and work into updates and repairs to make the space more modern and livable. Unfortunately, years of hard work and investment can start to unravel in only a few weeks.

Losing a job or sustaining a serious injury could result in an inability to pay your mortgage, as could a serious illness, like cancer. When you are unable to pay your mortgage each month, it doesn't take long for your lender to start pushing back.

Under New York law, mortgage lenders must provide borrowers in arrears with a 90-day foreclosure notice. That gives you time to try to sort out your finances. If you can't do it in that time, then the lender can move forward with foreclosure efforts.

In New York, that requires a court hearing, which can take some time. During the time between getting served and appearing in court, you may have options available to save your home. One of them involves mounting a defense against the foreclosure proceedings.

Statutes and precedent help protect homeowners facing foreclosure

Your lender should follow very specific requirements and schedules during the foreclosure process. Even the smallest mistake can get used in your defense against the loss of your home.

For example, if your lender initiates foreclosure proceedings before the 90 days from your notice are up or fails to provide the names of at least five housing counselor agencies in your area, that could help your case. Similarly, if your lender fails to properly serve either the 90-day notice or the Summons and Complaint for the actual foreclosure, that could get used in your defense.

Another common mistake lenders make could be getting the amount owed or past due incorrect. If you are able to pay the amount in part or in full before the court proceedings, that may invalidate the Complaint served for the foreclosure.

Personal conditions can also help in foreclosure

If the homeowner had an incapacitating mental illness or condition at the time he or she signed the mortgage, the mortgage may not be considered valid. Similarly, if one of the owners is an active duty service member in the United States military, that can help. There are special rules and protections for service members that can prevent or at least temporarily halt foreclosure proceedings.

Whatever your situation, you should carefully consider and explore all of your options for foreclosure defense. Simply giving up will cost you years of investment. There could still be a way to protect your biggest investment and help keep your family in your home.

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