Becoming a homeowner remains a key aspect of the American dream for many people. And once that dream is attained, people will often go to great lengths to ensure that it does not slip out of their hands. That is one of the reasons that foreclosure, or the risk of foreclosure, is so stressful for many homeowners: they have worked hard to purchase a valuable investment and do not want to lose it because of unfortunate or unexpected circumstances. Fortunately, there are often more legal solutions for people facing foreclosure than many homeowners think.
Although the economy has improved significantly since the housing bubble initially burst, residual effects remain and many homeowners are still suffering from the consequences. In Long Island, New York, homeowners and housing advocates are demanding assistance from the New York government, after it received a settlement of $5.1 billion from banks related to the housing crisis. Long Island homeowners are angry because their communities were devastated by foreclosure during the housing crisis, often due to the improper actions of banks, but they have not seen any of the money received from the settlement or any of the money allotted by the state to go toward mortgage assistance programs.
One of the best things a homeowner can do when facing foreclosure is to educate themselves about potential options and legal remedies. As underscored by the actions and sentiments of the residents of the Hempstead community in Long Island mentioned above, many of the recent foreclosures resulted from predatory lending tactics and excessively costly mortgages designed to entrap a potential homeowner. For this reason, homeowners should not hesitate to hold banks and mortgage lenders to account for their actions when a bank or mortgage lender attempts to foreclose on a person’s home.
Because New York courts are strict about how a foreclosure proceeds, banks are required to follow the specific legal procedures proscribed by law when attempting to initiate a foreclosure. However, much of the paperwork is often not up to standards, so one of the first things a homeowner can do in an effort to protect his or her home is to answer the foreclosure complaint, which prevents the bank from winning by default. Homeowners who want to save their homes from foreclosure may also want to consult with an attorney experienced in this area of law to see what other options may be available to them.
Source: News 12, “Foreclosure rally in Hempstead demands mortgage assistance,” Jan. 16, 2015