For years in our great State of New York, in the most remote villages and towns to the heartland of our great cities, lenders and mortgage servicers have enjoyed free rein in the foreclosure lawsuits and activities incidental when mortgage arrears surfaced in our homes and businesses. Routinely, most defenses to these foreclosure actions collapsed even before an attorney was seen. The scarred and frightened faces of our clients were never met; people went silently from their homes and businesses and the lenders and banks proceeded virtually unmolested in the courts.
Fast forward to 2008 when intermittent battles began to be waged in open court and at arbitration hearings. Not only with families, but the rumblings were heard in Washington, our federal and state courts, large and institutional credit and bonding companies and collapsing subprime and collateralized loan obligations and securities. Long time whispered and silenced defenses to mortgage foreclosure actions and related damages were now given voice, and echos of a deepening belief that there was value to these defenses were now edging more and more into the limelight.
Lenders demand their rights under loan documents. Now we know that homeowners and business owners have their rights too. Lenders and banks use of threats and large law firms slowed down as the transparencies are looked at in the hallways and offices when new callers and clients visit.
The mortgage foreclosure crisis has been discovered by all who come in contact with the process. Serious attention is now pooled and shared in our courtrooms, and unlikely solutions are paired with our clients in more and more cases. The filing of false foreclosure documents, “robo-signings”, improper service of summonses and court pleadings to hide fraudulent foreclosure practices are under constant scrutiny and attack. MERS issues and procedures, complicated standing issues and the common right to know who is suing you to take your home and business are tackled on each and every lawsuit that presents in our law firm.
Each homeowner and business owner is in a leadership position to the members of their community, their families and friends because the numbers of home and property owners facing default and arrears are staggering. There is a reason to respond in court and to demand disclosure of forged documents and abusive lending practices, which now threaten the core of our neighborhoods. The mortgage industry and federal government must share the responsibility for the foreclosure crisis and create a solution and environment to stop the unlawful foreclosures, and restore homeowners to their proper and well earned rights in our courts.
This coming March will mark the 3rd year anniversary of the HAMP Second-Lien modification program. Under HAMP, eligible homeowners who reside in the homes which are their principal residence, in a one to four family home with a maximum unpaid principal balance of less than $729,750, which loan was originated prior to January 1, 2009 and has suffered a financial hardship, were in the pool and their underwater homes may be saved. 2MP provided incentives to the investors and services for the modification of second mortgages if the homeowner received a HAMP modification. We are witnessing the extinguishing of these second liens in our law firm on behalf of those clients who have entered the battle, waged the war against foreclosure and stuck a determined marker in the front of their homes that, simply stated, expresses their intentions to remain and defend.
Keys and benchmarks for ensuring the best possible outcomes when faced with foreclosure circumstances and delinquencies are to identify attorneys, law firms and housing counselors to talk with, produce and review your loan documents all in a very well understood and defined process to monitor the lenders’ conduct and to provide legal representation in the courts. Default and guidance from the lenders and their law firms cannot create the consistent and proper climate for homeowners struggling to achieve solutions. Robust and unfiltered discussions and counsel are the building blocks to define both the internal and external needs of our clients. It is clear that our clients and callers can have all available means for assistance and legal representation when determined to……………..KEEP HOME YOUR OWN.