Americans owe a great deal to the servicemen and women of the U.S. military. For this reason, there are numerous laws designed to protect military members’ rights and provide them with certain benefits. For example, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) offers military personnel some legal protections against foreclosures.
SCRA provides relief to soldiers who took out their loans either prior to beginning active duty or after going on active duty. For the former, any foreclosure or seizure of your property is not valid during active duty or for one year after, unless a court issues an order that approves the foreclosure or the lender obtains a written waiver allowing it to proceed. These requirements are more stringent than with traditional foreclosures. It’s important to note, however, that after January 1, 2016, this one-year period will be reduced to 90 days.
For service members who took out a mortgage after they went on active duty, a default judgment cannot be issued during active duty. This is helpful to borrowers in judicial foreclosures, which are completed through the court system. In New York, all foreclosures are judicial.
Even if borrowers have default judgments entered against them, it’s not necessarily the end of the road. If the judgment was entered while the service member was engaged in military service, he or she may be able to reopen the case. To do so, borrowers must show that the military service substantially affected their ability to defend against the judgment and that they have a valid defense to the claim.
Foreclosure proceedings can be daunting, but there is relief for many borrowers – especially current and former military members. To learn more about foreclosure defense and how you might be able to defend against a claim, contact the skilled New York lawyers at Licatesi Law Group, LLP online or at 516-227-2662.