Foreclosure can be a really scary word. For many Americans, a home is their most valuable asset. For individuals who have struggled with their mortgage payments, the prospect of losing this home can be overwhelming.
Mortgage lenders can foreclose on a property when borrowers fail to make timely or complete mortgage payments. Unfortunately, foreclosure proceedings are incredibly common. Sometimes it is because borrowers take on more debt than they can handle, or their circumstances change that make their mortgage payments unaffordable. It only makes matters worse when financial institutions act unscrupulously, like when the mortgage crisis of 2009 led the entire economy into a recession.
Foreclosure Mediation Explores Alternatives to Foreclosure
In 2009, the Governor, the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General launched the “Foreclosure Mediation Program” to address the national mortgage crisis. This was an effort to keep people in their homes by encouraging alternatives to foreclosure. This is a state-supported mediation program in which lenders and borrowers meet with a neutral third party mediator, who attempts to guide the sides toward alternatives to foreclosure, which may include:
– A payment plan.
– A modification of the underlying loan.
– A short sale of the home.
– Avoiding foreclosure by agreeing to hand over the deed to the property.
The New Jersey Courts recommend that borrowers retain an attorney for this process. Because of the complexities of foreclosure proceedings and what is at stake, borrowers without legal representation are at an incredible disadvantage in mediation.
A Homeowner Must Be Eligible for Foreclosure Mediation
In order to qualify for this state-supported mediation, the following eligibility requirements must be met.
– Foreclosure mediation is available for impending foreclosures of residential properties by financial institutions. This must be an owner’s primary home. It is not available for commercial property, or for seizures relating to liens of property by tax collecting entities.
– Mortgage mediation does not apply to homeowners who are in bankruptcy or who do not wish to continue living in the home.
– Homeowners have 60 days from the time they are served with a notice of foreclosure proceedings to make a request for mediation. If that time lapses, a homeowner must file a motion and seek an order from the court approving foreclosure mediation in the case. This latter option is only possible before a final decree is entered.
As a caveat, note that participation in foreclosure mediation does not stay foreclosure proceedings.
You Need an Attorney to Defend Your Legal Rights
If you are facing foreclosure on your primary home, contact us immediately. Foreclosure mediation offers you a chance at resolving an impending foreclosure; however, you need a lawyer to help you. At Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., we have decades of experience in fighting to keep clients in their homes. You have legal rights that we can help you exercise. Let us assist you. Contact us at (973) 323-2953, or contact us online to schedule an appointment.