Mortgage lenders have been known to skirt the rules from time to time when pressing a foreclosure—and that opens up the doorway to a way to a defense that could slow down or even stop the foreclosure altogether. Learn more about the rules your lender was supposed to follow during the foreclosure process to see if you might be a victim of their noncompliance with the law.
What Laws Are Protecting Homeowners?
In 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) gained new authority through the Dodd-Frank Act to stop mortgage servicers from giving homeowners the runaround when they’re trying to get information about their loans and assistance to avoid foreclosure.
Because the new laws put a stronger emphasis on consumers’ rights, some mortgage servicers are naturally unhappy with the rules and have done their best to avoid compliance. As late as June of 2016, the CFPB issued information that shows that numerous violations are still occurring—which lead to homeowners getting information that’s late, misleading, or wrong and can unfairly put them in foreclosure.
What Steps Should Your Lender Have Taken?
If you were having trouble meeting your mortgage payments, the new rules require lenders to participate in both early intervention strategies and to work with you to avoid a foreclosure until no other option is possible.
There are a number of steps your lender was supposed to take:
- contact you directly once you’ve fallen behind on payments to discuss any options available to you
- notify you by mail about possible ways to avoid foreclosure
- give you easy access to your loan information
- give you consistent service, usually through a specific contact person, so that you didn’t get conflicting information or find it difficult to get a response to your questions
- consider all fair alternatives to foreclosure before initiating the process
- not start a foreclosure process if you submitted a loss mitigation application until the application was reviewed and either denied or you were given a chance to reject any alternative offer
- not starting the foreclosure process while you were still in a trial modification program
- stopping the foreclosure process if you filed a timely loan modification application
If your mortgage servicer violated any of these rules, consider contacting an attorney knowledgeable about foreclosure defense services. Advice from a Florida attorney on foreclosure defense alternatives and strategies may be able to help save your home.