A homeowner should consult with an experienced foreclosure defense attorney right after receiving foreclosure papers. The earliest stages of the case are the most crucial times to assert and preserve a homeowner’s legal rights for the remainder of the case. It is far more difficult for a foreclosure defense attorney to repair a “damaged” case than to handle the case correctly from the beginning.
An extremely small percentage of homeowners win foreclosure cases and keep their homes through sheer luck. The other winners are usually represented by experienced foreclosure defense attorneys.
In every foreclosure action, the foreclosing bank must have standing to foreclose. A bank only has standing to foreclose if it is the owner of the mortgage loan on the date that the foreclosure action is filed. If the homeowner’s attorney asserts lack of standing to foreclose as a defense in the Answer to the foreclosure complaint, the bank must prove that it has standing to foreclose. If the bank cannot prove that it has standing, the foreclosure action should be dismissed.
Six years after a mortgage is accelerated, the time to file a mortgage foreclosure action expires (with occasional exceptions). If the bank has not won a judgment of foreclosure and no mortgage foreclosure action is currently pending, the homeowner may file a quiet title action to discharge (remove) the mortgage lien from the property. When a homeowner wins quiet title, the property can be sold without paying the mortgage debt. The homeowner keeps the sales proceeds instead of the bank. Debt Inversion accomplished.
In a motion for summary judgment, the foreclosing bank must establish all facts necessary to prove its foreclosure claim and disprove all of the homeowner’s defenses and counterclaims through admissible evidence. The “admissible evidence” submitted by the bank normally includes an affidavit from an employee of the current mortgage loan servicer (not the foreclosing bank) that would be inadmissible at a trial where live testimony is required.
Deutsche Bank’s attorneys made a motion for summary judgment requesting the right to foreclose upon Mr. Codio’s home. The Court denied the motion because Deutsche Bank had failed to prove ownership of Mr. Codio’s mortgage loan, citing forgery of Mr. Codio’s signature and initials on the fake note. The Court’s full decision is attached.
Unless the homeowner’s attorney includes an “affirmative defense” in the Answer to the Foreclosure Complaint stating that the action is barred by the applicable statute of limitations, the statute of limitations defense is lost and the bank can foreclose upon the property even though it started the foreclosure action too late.
A mortgage loan servicer is nothing more than a debt collector, and speaking with debt collectors can only hurt you. When dealing with collectors, it is important not to seem interested in resolving the debt. If you seem interested, they conclude that you have something to lose and focus on you. You want to make a debt collector think you are broke and don’t care what happens. This causes them to conclude they are barking up the wrong tree and to leave you alone. Nothing works better than refusing to speak to them.
Whenever possible, we have our client present when we inspect the alleged original promissory note because the client is the only person in the conference room who saw the original note when it was signed and initialed at the bottom of each page. Clients can easily tell if their own signatures and initials have been forged and they can spot differences between the original document they signed and the document being presented.
A recent New York Appellate Court ruling may mean that the majority of home mortgages in New York State are “unforeclosable,” and that homeowners may keep their homes without making mortgage payments.
LENOIR LAW FIRM, PLLC
2585 Broadway, Suite 251
New York, NY 10025
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