Jann C. Washington, Esq.

Attorney at Law

Many unfortunate incidents may cause difficulties in meeting financial obligations including the loss of a job, a divorce, or unexpected health crisis. You can also get into financial trouble by using too many high interest credit cards or simply spending more than you make. If you are a homeowner and can no longer pay your mortgage, the bank may attempt to take your home through foreclosure. Even if your financial condition is miserable, there can by several ways to avoid a pending foreclosure or resolve a current foreclosure case, including:
· Short sale
· Loan modification
· Filing for bankruptcy
· Deed in lieu
· Strategic default with or without waiver of deficiency balance

I can give you information about your foreclosure options. I will advise you of your options and give you an accurate, honest assessment of your legal rights and available choices.

I can provide you with valuable information about foreclosure, including the alternatives and ramifications of foreclosure, the foreclosure process, and how to fight foreclosure. If you are considering walking away from your mortgage, either because you can no longer afford to pay your mortgage payments or because it no longer makes financial sense for you to continue paying on a mortgage when you owe more than the property is worth, we will explain the benefits and risks to you. I  will give you the information you need to make an informed decision about your financial future.

I know how disconcerting it can be when you can no longer pay your bills and are facing a foreclosure. Before I ever thought about entering the legal field, I suffered a loss of a job which led to my home being foreclosed upon.  I didn’t know there were options available to me and lost my home.  But my family recovered from this loss, we were able to move on with our lives, and we were able to buy another home.  When I work with clients, I make sure they understand their rights, and provide personalized service when addressing their debt problems.

OHIO SAVE THE DREAM ASSISTANCE

Ohio homeowners can obtain up to $35,000 of help assistance through Save the Dream Ohio. The Ohio Housing Finance Agency has started accepting applications from homeowners. The state obtained $25 million from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund to reopen the program.


Save the Dream Ohio works with approved housing counseling agencies to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by reinstating the homeowner’s mortgage and providing up to nine months of ongoing mortgage payments.

Why should I fight the foreclosure if I owe the money? What do I have to gain?

Many homeowners feel that since they borrowed the money, the mortgage company can take their house.  This is not always the case.  What most people don't know is that there is and was a systematic and broad based fraud committed against the homeowners by mortgage brokers and lenders.  In many cases, lenders authorized illegal fees on behalf of brokers.  In other cases, lenders encouraged brokers to falsify documents, used "robo-signers" whose only job was to sign hundred, if not thousands, of documents attesting to authenticity of documents that they never ever reviewed, and putting homeowners into loan products that were entirely unsuitable for them.  If these circumstances exist, the homeowner is in a different position and has a defense to foreclosure.  In addition if the lender violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) there may be a right of rescission.

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau

Today there are new protections available to homeowners from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  The new mortgage servicing rules ensure borrowers get a fair process from their mortgage servicer to avoid foreclosure.  The new rules require most of the mortgage servicers work with borrowers to explore options for loss mitigation.  The new protections include:


    • RESTRICTED DUAL TRACKING - The servicers are no longer permitted to start foreclosure proceedings if a borrower has already submitted an application for loan modification or loss mitigation.  Servicers also cannot make the first notice or filing required for the foreclosure process until the mortgage is more than 120 days delinquent.

    • NOTIFICATION OF FORECLOSURE ALTERNATIVES - Servicers must let borrowers know about "loss mitigation options" after two consecutive mortgage payments have been missed.  The mortgage servicer must provide written notice of these alternatives to the borrower with instructions on how to obtain more information about the loss mitigation options.

    • DIRECT AND ONGOING ACCESS TO SERVICING PERSONNEL - The servicers must provide the borrowers with direct, easy and ongoing access to employees responsible to assist them with loss mitigation.  

    • FAIR REVIEW PROCESS - The servicer must consider all foreclosure alternatives available from the mortgage owner or investor (those with decision making power over the loan) to help the borrower retain their home.  Servicers must consider the property owner for all available loss mitigation including, but not limited to, modification, payment deferment, deed in lieu, and short sale.  Servicers can not steer borrowers to options that are most financially favorable to the servicer.

    • NO SALE UNTIL ALL ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED - Servicers MUST consider and respond to the borrower's application for loan modification if it arrives at least 37 days before the scheduled foreclosure sale.  If the servicer offers an alternative to foreclosure, they must give the borrower time to accept the offer.

OTHER PROTECTIONS

Mortgage borrowers must be provided clear and timely information about their mortgages, including:


        • CLEAR MONTHLY MORTGAGE STATEMENTS which include the amount and due date of the next payment, breakdown of payments by principal, interest, fees and escrow, and recent transaction activities

        • EARLY WARNING BEFORE INTEREST RATE ADJUSTMENTS.

        • OPTIONS TO "FORCE-PLACED" INSURANCE - If a borrower doesn't provide property insurance for the home, the servicer has the right to purchase it.  However, the servicer can no longer purchase more expensive insurance than the borrower could provide on their own.  The servicer must also provide advance notice and pricing information for this insurance.  The servicers must also have a reasonable basis for concluding that a borrower lacks insurance, and if provided evidence that "force-placed" insurance is not needed, the servicer must terminate the insurance immediately. 

        • PAYMENTS PROMPTLY CREDITED - Servicers must credit a borrower's account the date a payment is received.  If the servicer places a partial payment in a "suspense account" it must credit the borrowers account with the payment as soon as the amount in the "suspense account" equals one full monthly mortgage payment.  

        • PROMPT RESPONSE TO REQUESTS FOR PAYOFF BALANCES

        • ERRORS CORRECTED AND INFORMATION PROVIDED QUICKLY - Servicers must acknowledge receipt of a written notices from borrowers and must correct errors or provide information tot he borrower about the servicer's investigation of the error within 30 days.

        • MAINTAIN ACCURATE AND ACCESSIBLE DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION - Servicers must be able to provide timely and accurate information to borrowers and, if a foreclosure proceeding has been initiated, the court and attorneys.

What Should I Do?

If you've been served with foreclosure papers and do nothing to fight the foreclosure, a default judgment will be taken against you and your home will be taken.  You have options.  The banks and mortgage companies do not want your home.  They are willing to work with you to keep you in your home.  In addition, federal and state laws now require banks and mortgage companies to work with homeowners to prevent foreclosure.  Please don't delay and don't ignore the foreclosure papers.  Even if you choose not to call me, please consult with an attorney as soon as possible to enable the best chance to save your home.