Fighting Foreclosure in Pennsylvania
When you’re sued for foreclosure, there can be a mountain of emotional difficulties to work through. The foreclosure process can bring up negative memories and sorrow for families in distress. However, there is good news. Even in a foreclosure action, you have rights, and armed with the information below and a good lawyer, you can use your rights to leverage a positive situation out of a bad one.
First, some good news and some bad news. The good news is that foreclosures are generally not quick. You won’t be locked out of your house tomorrow, even if the suit has been filed and served. The bad news is that your good intentions and the extenuating circumstances that perhaps lead you to fall behind on your payments do not matter in the outcome of your case.
There are many myths out there about the foreclosure process. Let’s dispel some rumors and help relieve you of some stress.
- The bank does not place a large sign on your property saying that you are in foreclosure;
- If defended, you will not be locked out of your house next week, next month – or possibly not for several years, if at all;
- Anything posted by the sheriff is notice for you—not your nosy neighbors or the rest of the world. You can immediately take down the notice;
- You will not be harassed or bothered, and no one may come into your home without your consent;
- There are several very good ways to save your home, or alternatively, to get some of your hard-earned equity out of the house as part of the process;
- You won’t be arrested. This is a civil contract dispute, not a criminal action, and the Sheriff is just coming to the house to give you papers, not put you in jail.
The foreclosure process gives you a chance to defend on the legal issue of whether the mortgage holder (usually a bank) has the right to take the house or other property from you. The process involves a Complaint in which the bank alleges that it has the right to repossess the property due to nonpayment or some other breach of the mortgage, and you have the right to answer the Complaint and provide legal defenses.
There are other ways to defend against a foreclosure, also. One common path is to file bankruptcy. The very word “bankruptcy” scares many clients, but it doesn’t need to. A bankruptcy allows reorganization of debt, including mortgages in some cases, and can sometimes allow you to keep your home.
Another route is through alternative dispute resolution. Many counties in Pennsylvania have a program for homeowners called the Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program. This program temporarily suspends the foreclosure litigation process to provide you, the homeowner, with additional protections and time to work out a solution to your financial problem.
So, what are the next steps? Do not panic if you see a Sheriff knocking on your door. Simply answer the door and take the paperwork that the Sheriff is required to bring to you. Once you receive that paperwork, immediately contact an experienced foreclosure attorney. There are very short deadlines which you do not want to miss.
We offer a number of solutions to your foreclosure, including aggressive and effective foreclosure defense litigation, loan modifications, reinstatement, and negotiations. Remember, the bank has its’ attorneys. You should have an experienced attorney fighting for your rights as well. At Cornerstone Law Firm, our compassionate and aggressive approach to defense means that you will have your options put in front of you and give you a plan to make the best of your situation. Call us today for a free consultation.