Bucks County, PA Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
Stopping mortgage foreclosure in Pennsylvania is possible. Unexpected yet ordinary life events can cause people to fall behind in mortgage payments such as illnesses, unexpected expenses, job loss, an accident, and other unfortunate and unexpected situations. If you’re facing mortgage foreclosure, Pennsylvania law offers venues to work things out with the foreclosing lender or lenders. Pennsylvania also provides substantial rights against unfair, deceptive, and usurious banking practices. Properties in Pennsylvania are sold to the highest non-party bidder or revert back to the foreclosing lender.
You are required to leave the property. Also, there is no right to recover the home after the foreclosure sale, and you can be chased with a separate lawsuit if the proceeds of the sale don’t cover the balance owed in the mortgage.
Young Marr & Associates are skilled and experienced Mortgage foreclosure lawyers with an unwavering commitment to stop foreclosure in Pennsylvania and help you obtain a fair outcome. Your initial consultation is totally free of charge and confidential. Call us at (215) 607-7478 to schedule a free consultation or contact us online.
Did You Receive a Formal Notice of Foreclosure in Bucks County?
According to the mortgage foreclosure instructions outlined in Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure Sections 1141 through 1164, mortgage borrowers must receive certain notices at the beginning of the foreclosure process. These notices are:
- “Act 6” – This notice informs mortgage borrowers about the model that has to be followed in Pennsylvania foreclosures. This notice will state the intention to foreclose the property within 60 days of nonpayment of a mortgage payment.
- “Act 91” – This notice provides Pennsylvania residents with information about the Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.
After receiving these notices, the mortgage borrower has 30 days to answer the notice with the intention of setting up a payment plan or curing the default and the fees associated with it. If the mortgage borrower fails to respond to the lender with a solution, then a lawsuit will be filed against the borrower. This lawsuit will be known as a judicial foreclosure proceeding — the lender will become the “plaintiff” and the mortgage borrower will become the “defendant.”
After the filing of the foreclosure complaint, the mortgage borrower will have 20 days to file an answer. If the borrower fails to file the complaint, their home will be included in a sheriff’s sale. At least 30 days before the sale, the borrower will receive a notice of the sale.
Bucks County Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program
Bucks County judges require homeowners eligible to enter this program to meet with a housing counselor and attend a conference with the lender where an agreement can be made with the lender regarding loan modification, forbearance or payment plans. Scheduling this conference date stops all further action until at least 20 days after the conference.
The state of Pennsylvania offers a mortgage assistance program to residents that are facing the threat of foreclosure due to unpaid mortgages. Pennsylvania’s mortgage foreclosure program offers borrowers up to $60,000 to repay their loan and avoid foreclosure. This program may last up to 36 months following mortgage delinquency. Participation requires mortgage borrowers to pay up to 35-40% of their monthly income towards their mortgages.
During this meeting, possible solutions to foreclosure will be discussed; these solutions could include forbearance, in which the borrower receives an extension granting them additional time to pay their missed payments; a loan modification, which will adjust loan conditions to make it easier for the borrower to pay; or a payment plan, which will allow the borrower to pay what they owe on an agreed-upon schedule.
There are statutes that have been passed by the Pennsylvania legislature intended to protect homeowners from corrupt or usurious lending practices.
These laws are:
- The Loan & Interest Protection Law – This sets a cap of 6% on the interest that banks can charge on loans.
- The Homeowners’ Emergency Assistance Act – This helps mortgage borrowers seek financial, housing, and legal assistance when faced with imminent foreclosure and makes borrowers facing foreclosure aware of financial aid.
Strict Foreclosure Documentation Required in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas is the judicial unit where foreclosures are filed. The foreclosure action must have attached what is known as ‘lis pendens’, which is the term used to identify the document containing the public notice announcing that the property is being foreclosed upon. The lender must also include the mortgage documents. These are typically the “security agreement” or “promissory note” establishing the underlying debt and repayment terms.
You also must receive the foreclosure complaint. The foreclosure complaint is the legal document filed in a court stating the borrower has missed enough payments warranting a foreclosure action. A copy must be provided with a summons or order to appear in court. If the foreclosing lender is unable to supply this complaint to you, advertisements of the foreclosure action have to publicize in papers.
There is a term of 20 days to answer the foreclosure complaint. Default or nonattendance is entered if the complaint is left unanswered. If no answer is furnished within the 20-days, the borrower will receive a 10-day notice stating that the foreclosure will be granted.
How Can You Avoid Foreclosure in Bucks County, PA?
Mortgage borrowers who are facing foreclosure can improve their chances by answering all of the notices they receive in a prompt and thorough way. Mortgage borrowers should also respond promptly to the foreclosure complaint filed against them by their lenders; they should hire an attorney immediately to help them understand the process and how they can make the best defense for themselves.
The answer you file is where the borrower raises defenses and answers the allegations the foreclosing lender makes in the judicial complaint. The answer gives borrowers an opportunity to admit or deny claims. The defenses can be facts about how the lender contributes to creating the grounds for the foreclosure. For example, if the lender didn’t credit your payments or failed to honor a grace period previously allowed.
If you fail to answer the foreclosure complaint, the foreclosure will move forward. The lender can file what is known as a “motion for summary judgment” if you fail to answer the complaint. This motion is essentially an official legal request for the judge to sign off on the foreclosure sale. The trial is typically scheduled if the lender’s summary judgment request is denied.
Successful defenses will pertain to the lender’s fault as part of the foreclosure. For example, if the lender failed to credit payments made by the borrower or failed to honor grace periods, a successful defense can be made.
Another option for mortgage borrowers facing foreclosure is to declare bankruptcy, either through Chapter 13 or Chapter 7. Chapter 13 bankruptcy gives borrowers a chance to catch up on missed mortgage payments, known as “mortgage arrears.” Following the declaration of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debtors will make plans to deal with past-due payments.
When a borrower declares Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they will not be allowed to catch up on missed payments. However, this type of bankruptcy buys time for the borrower by issuing an “automatic stay,” which will temporarily postpone foreclosure proceedings.
How Can a Lawyer Help With a Foreclosure Defense?
Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure Sections 3180 through 3183 set rules for mortgage foreclosure. A 30-day notice is required before the foreclosure sale occurs. There are also state and federal laws specifically designed to protect borrowers in Pennsylvania who are facing mortgage foreclosure. These laws include The Loan Interest & Protection Law and The Homeowners Emergency Assistance Act.
A foreclosure sale is considered unlawful if notices are not furnished adequately. Foreclosure notices must be posted on the premises of the at least 30 days before the scheduled sale takes place. This notice has to be published in a newspaper once a week for three weeks at least 21 days before the date of the sale.
Can You Recover a Home After a Foreclosure Sale in Pennsylvania?
There is no legal recourse to get the house back. Borrowers in Pennsylvania have up to one hour before the bidding begins at the foreclosure sale to reinstate the mortgage. Reinstatement means you catch up with payments and late fines so that mortgage is reactivated.
A deficiency judgment action is the lawsuit filed if the foreclosure sale doesn’t satisfy the debt. You may be held responsible for the shortfall owed to the bank. A deficiency action must be presented within six months of the foreclosure sale. The deficiency amount cannot exceed the fair market value of the property. Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure Section 8103 govern deficiency judgments.
Our Bucks County Foreclosure Defense Attorneys Can Help You Fight
An experienced foreclosure lawyer can help if you are concerned with loss mitigation and think that the foreclosure has to be challenged. Foreclosure actions are incredibly frightening and unjust actions that can be missed without the help of an experienced professional. The bankruptcy attorneys of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates can help you make an informed and financially sound decision. Call today for a free consultation at (215) 607-7478.