Over the past several months, there have been a lot of reports about new programs to help individuals faced with foreclosure. However, as with any lawsuit, one can be at a loss when served with foreclosure papers. The first thing to do is to carefully review the foreclosure complaint, preferably with an attorney. You may not realize it but you may have defenses to the action. Are you being sued by the right bank (the Plaintiff in the foreclosure law suit)? Sometimes, loan documents and mortgages are re-assigned many times, and the suing bank may not be able to prove that it is the holder of the note and mortgage. Perhaps, the bank and you have reached a modification agreement prior to the foreclosure, yet the bank sues you despite your compliance with the agreement. If you just ignore the lawsuit, the bank may get a default judgment, which will be unfavorable to you. It is crucial to file an Appearance form to notify the bank and the Court that a lawyer represents you or that you represent yourself. Then, it is necessary to file responsive pleadings to the Complaint as well as decide whether you need to file discovery requests to have the plaintiff answer your questions under oath, or produce certain documents. The bank may also serve discovery requests on you. There are other steps that have to be taken for the matter to proceed to a resolution.
Connecticut has recently enacted a Foreclosure Mediation Program. This program allows a State-appointed mediator to assist you and the bank to reach a mutually-acceptable agreement to resolve the dispute. Participation in this program is free, and all new foreclosure complaints should include a Notice to Homeowner about the program as well as the Mediation Request form.
There also have been several programs enacted by Congress and the Connecticut legislature for loan refinancing, modification, as well as emergency assistance. In Connecticut, the two state programs are called CT FAMILIES Program and the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. They are administered by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, and more information is available at www.chfa.org. Information about federal programs is available at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov. This website has self-assessment questionnaires for determining eligibility for assistance.
For more information, please contact Attorney David A. Baram.