Philadelphia Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
Even though the subprime mortgage crisis is long behind us, homeowners throughout Philadelphia are still finding themselves with rapidly dropping home values, underwater mortgages, and foreclosure notices. Learning that your lender is preparing to foreclose on your home is certainly a very scary experience. However, many homeowners do not realize that there are defenses available. Our Philadelphia foreclosure defense lawyer explains what those are below, and how you may be able to keep your home.
How Does Foreclosure Work in Philadelphia?
Pennsylvania is a judicial foreclosure state, which means that before a lender can foreclose on a home, they must file a lawsuit against the borrower and the matter must be resolved in court. The process involves many steps, and lenders are required to follow them if they want to successfully foreclose on a home. When a homeowner is behind on mortgage payments and lenders want to evict them, they must take the following steps:
- Send notice to the homeowner of their intention to foreclose
- File a complaint against the homeowner in court
- Serve the complaint to the homeowner and provide them with an opportunity to respond
- Obtain a judgment either in favor or against the lender
There may be other steps involved in a foreclosure case, depending on the specific facts. For example, if you have a valid defense, such as that the lender does not own the loan, you can argue your case in court, which may allow you to keep your home.
Defenses to Foreclosure in Philadelphia
Philadelphia County has a Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program that can help homeowners who are facing foreclosure. This option is not appropriate in all cases but fortunately, there are other options available. These can include:
- Modify your existing home loan to make payments more affordable
- Obtain a forbearance agreement
- File a separate homeowner complaint for predatory lending practices
- Negotiate a deed in lieu of foreclosure or a short sale
- Preserve the equity in your home
- File for Chapter 13 bankruptcy
How Can a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Help You Avoid Foreclosure?
In some instances, filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best way to avoid foreclosure and still keep your home. During a Chapter 13 bankruptcy your debt, including delinquent mortgage payments, is reorganized into a repayment plan. The plan extends between three and five years, which means you will have that amount of time to repay the mortgage loan. Due to the fact that you are going to repay the missed payments, you can continue to live in your home.
Immediately after you file bankruptcy, a judge will issue an automatic stay. The automatic stay prohibits lenders from trying to collect on debt while bankruptcy proceedings are ongoing. As such, even just the act of filing bankruptcy can stop a foreclosure, even if a sale of the property is imminent.
Seek Legal Advice from Our Foreclosure Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia
If your lender has notified you that they are going to start the foreclosure process, it is critical that you learn about your legal options. At Ellenberg Law Group, our Philadelphia foreclosure defense lawyer can explain what these are further and help you determine which one is right for you. Call us now at 215-790-1682 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.