30 Years Experience of Foreclosure Defense
Serving Homeowners in Pierce County and Tacoma, WA
Losing your home? Call Washington Fresh Start!
Falling behind on your mortgage payments can place you and your family under a lot of stress. At Washington Fresh Start, we are here to help you prevent foreclosure on your home or to stop any foreclosure actions that have already begun. This can be accomplished through negotiation or by filing bankruptcy, both of which can stop foreclosure actions on your home.
A foreclosure is what occurs when the mortgager is unable to keep their promise to the bank or lender that has a lien on their home to pay their mortgage payments on time. The lender then takes legal action to gain ownership of the property, in an attempt to sell the property as a means of satisfying the debt. Once this process is complete the homeowner loses all rights to the property and, if necessary, will be evicted. This unfortunate series of events can be avoided with the right preventative steps. Often a lender initiates the law suit improperly which might get the foreclosure dismissed with a proper defense. Often the original mortgage firm sold the debt so the original required papers cannot be procured and there is no right to foreclose. Lenders cannot make up
fees just because you’re in foreclosure so you are entitled to push back. Lenders must adhere to consumer protection laws. If your loan is considered a predatory loan, that is a defense. If you’re offered a loan modification and then it is later denied, that can serve as a defense.
One way to prevent foreclosure is to negotiate with your lender, either to modify your loan or to settle your debt. Loan modifications lower the interest rates or principle for your loan or extend its term so that the monthly payments are reduced. As for debt settlement, this occurs when your lender accepts a lump sum payment that is less than the amount owed, but considers it to be full repayment. You might also consider debt consolidation, which combines multiple consumer debts into one loan so that your excess interest rates are eliminated, reducing the amount you pay each month. The ultimate goal is to make your payments affordable so that you can catch up.
Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Defense
In cases where you cannot modify your loan or afford payments, you could file for bankruptcy. The moment you retain a bankruptcy lawyer or file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, an automatic stay is put on any foreclosure actions. You may be able to save your home if is exempt from liquidation, or if you are able to reorganize your debt through bankruptcy. Other common foreclosure defenses include the following:
The Mortgage Servicer Made a Serious Mistake
Mortgage servicers (entities who contract with banks and other lenders to receive and disburse mortgage payments and enforce the terms of the mortgage) make mistakes all the time when they’re dealing with borrowers.
You may be able to challenge the foreclosure based on mistakes such as:
- crediting your payments to the wrong party (so you weren’t, in fact, delinquent to the extent asserted by the foreclosing party)
- imposing excessive fees or fees not authorized by the lender or owner, or
- substantially overstating the amount you must pay to reinstate your mortgage.
Mistakes on the amount you must pay to reinstate your mortgage are especially serious. This is because an overstated amount may deprive you of the main remedy available to keep your home. For example, if the mortgage holder says you owe $4,500 to reinstate (perhaps because it imposes unreasonable costs and fees), when in fact you owe only $3,000, you may not have been able to take advantage of reinstatement (say you could have afforded $3,000, but not $4,500).
The Original Lender Engaged in Unfair Lending Practices
You may be able to fight your foreclosure by proving that your lender violated a federal or state law designed to protect borrowers from illegal lending practices. Two federal laws protect against unfair lending practices associated with residential mortgages and loans: the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and an amendment to TILA commonly termed the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA).
Lenders violate TILA when they don’t make certain disclosures in the mortgage documents, including the annual percentage rate, the finance charge, the amount financed, the total payments, the payment schedule, and more.
In the case of loans covered by HOEPA, lenders must comply with various notice provisions and are prohibited from using certain mortgage terms, such as prepayment penalties if the loan is a high-cost home loan.
Contact a foreclosure defense attorney in Tacoma, WA
Do not hesitate to engage in a free case evaluation with Tacoma Bankruptcy Attorney David Yando if you need to defend your home from foreclosure. With more than 30 years of debt relief and bankruptcy experience, Mr. Yando is more than capable of counseling you through the bankruptcy process or any alternative to bankruptcy. Contact us right away for more information.