Your home is likely the most valuable asset you own. Beyond its monetary value, your home has incredible sentimental value as it represents your hard work, the place where you have raised your children, and the roof over your family’s head. This makes foreclosure a stressful and scary prospect: you are literally facing the possibility of losing your home to a financial institution.
In our experience, there are financial institutions that will engage in unscrupulous behavior to secure your signature and lend you money. This can create a tremendous harm, as the lender’s promises to you are not kept, you are not provided with all of the information you need, or you are stuck with an unaffordable mortgage payment. You may feel powerless in all of this because financial institutions have plenty of money and resources to develop these unscrupulous tactics, while you are simply trying to make ends meet.
If you have missed payments, or failed to make full or timely payments, a lender may seek to foreclose on your home. However, if the lender engaged in misconduct in advertising or inducing you to take on a bad mortgage loan, there are laws that may protect you.
New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA)
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is a powerful law that may serve as a defense in foreclosure proceedings. Specifically, the CFA stated that:
“The act, use or employment by any person of any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or the knowing, concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact with intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise or real estate, or with the subsequent performance of such person as aforesaid, whether or not any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby, is declared to be an unlawful practice”
Some acts that may constitute mortgage fraud, or predatory lending, under the CFA may include:
– Inducing a borrower to refinance their mortgage, while charging up-front fees that range from unreasonable to exorbitant. This directly enriches the lender while removing any savings the borrower may have seen from the “reduced” interest rate.
– Deceiving a borrower with a good mortgage loan to refinance with a worse loan.
– Providing deceptive advice to borrowers, like that they should stop making mortgage payments.
– A lender offering a loan that it knows that borrower cannot afford, but withholding this information from the borrower.
– Advertising a low interest rate that turns out to be misleading or inaccurate.
Significantly, if a court determines your defense or counterclaim has merit, the court may halt the foreclosure, and the court has the discretion to award attorneys fees and significant damages that triple the amount that you lost.
Let Us Help You Move Forward
If you are at risk of foreclosure and believe your lender has engaged in fraudulent or deceptive conduct, you need an attorney. There are laws that may keep you in your home and open unscrupulous lenders up to significant damages. At Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., we know the law and will help you fight for your legal rights. Your lender has an attorney and so should you. Let us help you balance the odds. You can reach us at (973) 323-2953 to schedule a consultation, or you can reach us online.
We are proudly designated as a debt relief agency by an Act of Congress. We have proudly assisted consumers in filing for Bankruptcy Relief for over 30 years.