Philadelphia Mortgage Foreclosure Lawyer
Foreclosure can be a daunting process. However, an experienced foreclosure defense attorney can help you understand it and achieve the best possible result. Foreclosures in Pennsylvania are typically final since there no right to redeem or recover the property after the sale. You must be proactive if your goal is to keep your home and/or to mitigate losses. Taking critical steps at the right time is crucial, especially when mortgage lenders try to add fees and costs associated with the foreclosure process to the existing debt. Moreover, even if you’re prepared to lose the property, you can be responsible for the balance or deficiency remaining after the foreclosure sale. Hiring legal help can be a pivotal decision to make educated choices and fight for your rights in a difficult foreclosure process. As more time passes and the deeper you get into the foreclosure process, the harder it will be to stop it.
Attorneys of Young Marr & Associates are skilled and experienced foreclosure lawyers with an unwavering commitment to helping you obtain the best results possible. Your initial consultation is free of charge and confidential. We handle foreclosure cases throughout Pennsylvania. Call us at (215) 701-6519 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
The Philadelphia Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Program and Conciliation Conference
Philadelphia has instituted a Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program limited to owner-occupied primary residences. The program offers free housing and legal advice. Homeowners in this program participate in a Conciliation Conference where the foreclosing lender and the distressed borrower meet to negotiate alternatives. This conference is mediated with the support of a free housing counselor. The purpose of this conciliatory meeting is typically to reach a solution with an agreement that can include:
- Forbearance where there is a time extension allowing the borrower to recover from financial hardship.
- A loan modification where the terms of the loan such as time, interests, and monthly payments are readjusted.
- A plan or schedule of additional monthly sums that can bring the loan payments current.
The Mortgage Foreclosure Process
Foreclosure is the process where a mortgage lender files a lawsuit against a borrower who has fallen behind in mortgage payments. Properties in Pennsylvania are sold in a sheriff’s sale to the highest third-party bidder or revert back to the foreclosing lender. Foreclosure actions must be preceded by pre-foreclosure notices. There are two pre-foreclosure notice requirements in Pennsylvania:
- “Act 6” or “PA Act 6 Notice” dictate the rules for the initial letter where the foreclosing lender lets the mortgage borrower know about the intention to foreclose the property. This notification must be sent within 60 days of the nonpayment. The borrower has 30 days to set up a payment plan or cure the default and pay late fees, attorney’s fees, and costs.
- An “Act 91” Notice provides Pennsylvania residents with information on Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Programs.
The Pennsylvania legislature has also enacted statutes to protect debtors from abusive lending and foreclosure practices, including the following:
- The Loan Interest & Protection Law proscribes usurious practices and sets a cap of 6% on interest rates bank can charge.
- The Homeowners’ Emergency Assistance Act is the statute designed to help borrowers facing foreclosure with means to seek financial, housing, and legal assistance. Borrowers in Pennsylvania must receive information about opportunities for federal or state programs giving financial aid to distressed debtors facing foreclosure.
What is a Judicial Foreclosure?
A judicial foreclosure proceeding must be compliant with Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure Sections 1141 through 1164, which guard fairness for both parties and ensures communications are made through official legal hearings and documents.
How Can I Avoid Mortgage Foreclosure?
Asserting your borrower legal rights can lead to a successful foreclosure challenge. The answer to the complaint is a crucial step. In this answer, you state defenses and raise the actions showing the lender imposed abusive fees, and either caused or contributed to creating the mounting costs and arrears leading to the foreclosure.
How Much Time Do I Have to Fight?
It typically takes 120 days to complete an uncontested foreclosure. A contested or challenged foreclosure usually takes longer, especially if delays and extensions are requested. A defendant has a term of 20 days to answer the foreclosure complaint. A default judicial ruling is entered if the complaint is left unanswered. If no answer is furnished with the 20-days, the borrower will receive a 10-day notice stating that failure to answer will result in a default judgment.
Answering the complaint can help protect important rights. The lender can file what is known as a “motion for summary judgment” if you fail to respond to the complaint. The motion for summary judgment is a request for the judge to sign off on the foreclosure sale. The substance of the statement must include specific reasons why there are no issues or questions warranting a prolonged dispute of the foreclosure. The trial is typically scheduled if the lender’s summary judgment request is denied. This part of the process is governed by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure Sections 3180 through 3183.
Foreclosure Auction vs. Sheriff’s Sale
Foreclosure notices of the scheduled sale or public auction must be posted on the foreclosed property at least 30 days before the programmed sheriff’s sale takes place. This notice has to be published in a newspaper once a week for three weeks or at least 21 days before the date of the official public auction.
Pennsylvania gives mortgage borrowers ample time to reinstate a mortgage. A sheriff’s sale on a property can be canceled if the debt is satisfied up to an hour before the scheduled time.
If the Sheriff’s Sale amount does not satisfy the mortgage debt, you may be responsible for a deficiency judgment. A deficiency judgment process is a legal action the foreclosing lender files if there is a shortfall after the foreclosure sale. This action has to be compliant with the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure Section 8103. The deficiency cannot exceed the fair market value of the property. These actions must be presented within six months of the foreclosure sale.
Our Philadelphia Foreclosure Defense Attorneys Can Help
Foreclosure actions can be incredibly overwhelming. Lenders can be sloppy, and there are blunders and unjust actions an experienced can professional identify while there is time available to fight against the foreclosure. The attorneys of Young, Marr & Associates can help. Call today at (215) 701-6519 for a free consultation.
☑ Been paying credit card balances that seem to never go down?
☑ Lost your job and are now having trouble keeping up?
☑ Attempted to work out a payment arrangement to no avail?
☑ Been notified of a mortgage foreclosure action?
☑ Been denied for a mortgage or other line of credit?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then bankruptcy may be an option that you should consider.