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Facing Foreclosure: Know Your Rights

Judicial Foreclosure.  New York is a judicial foreclosure state. This means that your lender must go to court to recover your home.

Pre-foreclosure notice. As of January 14, 2010, the lender or loan servicer must give all homeowners notice at least 90 days before commencing foreclosure. This 90-day window gives you the opportunity to try to work with your lender. The notice must tell you how much you must pay to bring your loan current. It must also give you the names and telephone numbers of at least five government-approved housing counselors or other housing counseling agencies designated by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) serving the region where you reside.

Mandatory settlement conference. As of January 14, 2010, the court must schedule a settlement conference within 60 days after the lender files proof of service of the complaint in all foreclosure actions involving a home loan. The settlement conference is an opportunity for you to reach a resolution with the lender. You should bring proof of income such as your two most recent pay stubs and most recent tax return to the conference. The house can be sold at auction if you fail to: appear at a settlement conference, answer the foreclosure action or reach a settlement with the lender. 

The Home Equity Theft Protection Act (HETPA), covers the sale of certain homes in foreclosure or default where a buyer is purchasing the home as an investment.  This includes buyers who promise to bring your mortgage current and allow you to buy the home back from them. If you are planning to sell a home that is in foreclosure or default, be aware of your rights under this law, and know what to expect from a legitimate buyer. If your sale is protected by this law, and your buyer fails to fulfill any of these requirements you may be able to void or legally cancel the contract and the sale and you may be able to sue the buyer for recovery of damages.

Distressed Property Consultants. New York State prohibits “distressed property consultants” (individuals, corporations or other entities that promise to stop or delay a foreclosure or tax sale) from charging any upfront fees before completing their services and fully executing the written contract that sets out the services to be provided and the cost of those services.

 

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