Saturday, March 3, 2012

Responding to summons and complaint, and subsequent steps in foreclosure cases

Question: My bank is suing me because I have not paid my mortgage for about a year. These are the reasons I am not paying my mortgage: 1) I applied for loan modification, but the bank never approved it, 2) for personal reasons, I fell into financial hardship. The summons and complaint letter I got from the court states that I have 20 days to respond. What should I state in my response? In other words how do I proceed? My main concern is that following this foreclosure process I might end up with a larger debt than I had originally.

Response: When you personally get served with the summons and complaint, you get 20 days to answer unless you call the Plaintiff's firm and ask for an extension to file an answer. Generally, such requests get granted if you don't wait too long. In your answer, you must answer to every allegation in the complaint, either by admitting, denying, or stating that you don't know the answer. If any paragraph of the complaint remains unanswered, it will be considered true and admitted. Once you answer the complaint, foreclosure action cannot take place because of your default. You will be put on notice of every legal proceeding in your case. You will have an opportunity to oppose Plaintiff's motions, as well. In New York you will be placed in the mandatory settlement conference part, where you and the lender will have to negotiate in good faith to try to settle the case, i.e., modifying the loan (if you qualify). Essentially, you have to figure out what's most important to you--saving the home or getting rid of the debt as quickly as possible. If your priority is to save your home, then you will have an opportunity to do so in court settlement conference part. If your goal is to get rid of the debt (and the house) as soon as possible, then you can either do a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Regardless of what you decide to do, you should still put in an answer to the complaint. Consult with a professional attorney, who could advise you of your legal rights.

In the legal blog, Attorney Svetlana Kaplun addresses typical questions our firm has received from our clients, or come across from homeowners related to foreclosure, foreclosure defense, loan modification and bankruptcy topics.

The information contained in the legal blog of Attorney Svetlana Kaplun is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as a legal advice on any subject matter. Please read our full disclaimer or contact the Law Office of Svetlana Kaplun, P.C. by telephone at 718-444-1115 for more information.
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