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The Foreclosure Process in a Nutshell: Part I
The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County's Foreclosure Defense Unit serves homeowners facing foreclosure in Palm Beach County. Our goal is to empower homeowners facing foreclosure with the tools and information that they may use to defend themselves against foreclosure. Below is Part 1 of 2 which describes the foreclosure process. Read Part 2 of 2.
(The following is being provided for informational purposes only
and should not be considered legal advice)
Borrower Default-Default occurs when the borrower (also called the mortgagor) fails to perform an obligation secured by the mortgage. Most commonly, this is the obligation to make the monthly mortgage payments, but default may also be caused by other breaches of the mortgage including failing to maintain property insurance or pay property taxes or homeowner/condo association assessments.
Service of the Summons and Complaint-The bank (or authorized loan servicer) files a Complaint for Foreclosure with the Court and has you served with a copy of it.
Respond to the Complaint-As the Summons that accompanies the Complaint explains, you are given 20 days (from the date that you are served) to file a response to the Complaint with the Court and serve (mail) a copy of the response on the attorney for the bank.
Don't ignore the Summons and Complaint !!! If you fail to respond, a default will be entered against you. When a default is entered, you are deemed to have admitted all of the allegations in the Complaint. Absent a showing of "excusable neglect" (which is often very difficult to show), you will lose your right to defend against the foreclosure and the bank will be entitled to foreclose on the property.
... if you timely file a response to the Complaint, the process continues as follows...
Be persistent with working with your lender-Don't think it's over just because you have been sued and you have responded. Keep in mind that you own the property until the property is sold at the foreclosure sale, as described below. So even after a foreclosure is filed you can still sell the property, refinance your loan, modify your loan, etc. Communicating with your lender can often be frustrating, but persistence can pay off. There are many local agencies that will assist you, free of charge, with working with your bank to reach alternatives to a judgment of foreclosure. You can also request mediation by filing a motion for mediation with the court.
Defenses-If you raise defenses in your response and/or request information/documents from the Plaintiff, they must respond before they are entitled to a judgment of foreclosure. That is, they may not ignore your requests and must fully prove their case, which necessarily entails that they overcome the defenses that you may raise.
For assistance with foreclosures, please contact Legal Aid Society's Foreclosure Defense Unit at (561) 655-8944 Ext. 325, or email us at email@example.com.
This is part one of a two part series. Read The Foreclosure Process in a Nutshell: Part II.
IMPORTANT: The information on this Website is not intended as legal advice or representation. No attorney-client relationship is created between the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. and any person obtaining information from this website. Public benefits and other laws change frequently. We strive to keep this website up to date but cannot provide a guarantee that this information is accurate as of the time you are reading it.