Antiquated Laws Make Foreclosures More Likely

Many states have laws on the books that make it difficult for home owners to avoid foreclosure, says a new report by the National Consumer Law Center.

The center identifies these state laws as some of the most antiquated and unfavorable to home owners.

  • Fast track foreclosure. In 30 states and the District of Columbia, mortgage holders who allege that home owners have fallen behind on the payments can bypass the courts and move directly to auction off homes. To defend against the action, home owners must get a judge to review the claims and stop foreclosure.
  • No direct notification of foreclosure proceedings. In 33 states and the District of Columbia, there is no requirement that home owners be personally served with a foreclosure notice.
  • No requirement to find solutions other than foreclosure. In every state but California and Connecticut, mortgage holders can move directly to foreclosure without discussing the issue and other potential solutions with the home owner.
  • Eleventh-hour payments can be ignored. In 29 states, a mortgage holder has no legal obligation to stop foreclosure even if the home owner comes up with enough money to bring the mortgage current, including paying penalties and fees.
  • Big penalties are legal. In every state but Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, a mortgage holder who claims a home owner has fallen behind in payments can immediately impose default fees and costs that reduce the chances that the homeowner can catch up by making the payments owed.

“The bottom line is that most state laws are not part of the foreclosure crisis solution today; they are a big part of the problem,” say John Rao, attorney and co-author of the report.

Source: National Consumer Law Center