Foreclosure Defense

In 2019, defaulting homeowners seem to know a lot about the law behind foreclosure defense. Many consumer homeowners seem to think they are entitled to a “free house” because of a an errant assignment of mortgage issue, a robosigning or a Statute of Limitations problem. While our Firm has indeed achieved a “free house” for our clients in a handful of, yet egregious, cases, it is simply not the norm. Banks and servicers have numerous ways of taking advantage of a loophole in the law to torpedo homeowners’ defenses. We never promise our clients a “Rose Garden” but we support our papers and arguments with skill and experience that spans three decades in the area of foreclosure defense. The law has certainly changed in that time, and in the favor of consumers.

On August 30, 2013, a new law in New York went in into effect amending the specific procedural rule governing residential foreclosure actions, CPLR 3012-b, and finally now requires lenders’ lawyers to prove, at the initial pleading [Complaint] stage, that the foreclosing party has standing to sue. Finally, the New York legislature has pushed back the clock on lenders seeking to foreclose and will cut down on the legal limbo that has existed since 2010 and the initial fight against the robo-signing scandal. Named the “shadow docket bill”, the ostensible goal is to shorten the length of a foreclosure case, and limit cases filed to only those who have the Note and Mortgage, Assignments and modification agreements. In addition, bank lawyers have to file a Certificate of Merit along with those supporting documents, to even get the case into the Courthouse.

The new law is a momentous and overdue fix to foreclosure procedure in New York in the opinion of our New York City foreclosure defense lawyers. It has given teeth to the requirement on banks to show they have standing to foreclose at the outset of the litigation, and not months to years afterwards, if at all.

As in many cases and before this new law, judges were free to ratify bad process service issues and deny homeowners any right to defend based upon a failure to answer the Complaint. At very least, the new law requires the bank to due minimum due diligence before it files a lawsuit and not long after. However, it remains so critical that a homeowner answer a foreclosure and timely at that. Timely answering a foreclosure Complaint is especially important with the new law because now, presumably, issues of standing are no more. The initially filed documents by the bank must now show a prima facie case, and do away with an affirmative defense by homeowners that has powerfully used since 2010.

On a more serious note, consumers have rights upon the threatened or pending foreclosure of their home. If violated, these rights can be asserted in defense against a lender's, assignee's or investor's foreclosure action. Among other things, they can range from simply a failure by the original lender to disclose consumer rights, to outright fraud or predatory lending, to identity theft. These rights might also be affirmatively prosecuted under federal and state laws which govern the mortgage lending industry. Whether in defense of a foreclosure action, or by way of an affirmative lawsuit against the holder of the mortgage, consumers often do not know their rights. It is most advisable to seek a knowledgeable New York City foreclosure defense attorney at the earliest possible stage to perhaps avert foreclosure proceedings, or to try to reverse them, if it is not too late to save the home.

Those old issues of predatory lending still remain in some cases. Homeowners should always be aware of the e.g. veracity of the appraisals at the inception of their loan, the existence of any “straw buyer(s)” in the transaction, unaffordable interest rates, and the verification process of the borrower(s)’ income. Many loans out there still originated prior to 2007, and the exposure of industry-wide mortgage fraud leading to the credit crisis of 2008. Certain cases can still put forward these defenses, and perhaps prosecute these issues in an affirmative action against the wrongdoers in a plenary action, or by way of a Counterclaim.

Please contact us online or call us today at (212) 537-6612 for an initial phone consultation with a foreclosure defense lawyer in New York City and collar counties.

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Client Reviews
I highly recommend this law firm. Attorneys Unger and Benjamin battled a real estate scammer who defrauded me out of substantial money. They were able to get a good result for me after the defendants put up numerous obstacles and delays over 18 months. And they were honest with me regarding their upfront and contingency fees. Definitely hire this firm if you are a victim of fraud or breach of contract. Rebekah W.
Over the years I have had dealings with many of attorneys and I can honestly say that Mr. Benjamin is the best lawyer I have ever worked with. He's conscientious, and takes care of your case as if his own interests were at stake. He's professional, always answered my calls and takes the time to discuss the best course to take. Everything was done timely and efficiently. I couldn't be happier with the result. I wish they were all like him. The best decision I made was to use him for all my legal needs. Nancy O.
Attorney Benjamin is an excellent attorney. He battled a finance company for me for nine years, defeating multiple motions that were thrown at him over the years. He is an honest, compassionate and trustworthy attorney, and was an aggressive advocate for me for a long time. After so many years, he finally got a great result in August, 2015 after defeating still another motion by the lender. I highly recommend Attorney Benjamin. Daniel O.
We hired this Firm on July 20, 2018 to sue a company for fraud. While the case took longer than we wanted, the lawyers battled for 1 year with this nationwide real estate company to expose the scam they inflicted on us. In order to get to settlement, our lawyer Jeffrey Benjamin cut the Firm's fee in order that we could put more money in our pocket and settle. The lawyers here are honest and bent over backwards to make us happy and settle, and not drag out the case for years. We are so happy we went with this Firm. Thank you. K.J.