Forclosure

What are my rights?

There are two types of states when it comes to mortgages and foreclosure, Judicial and Non-Judicial states. With a Judicial State, the bank gives you title to your house and if you default, the bank must sue you in court to foreclose on your house. The entire process takes 6-12 months after what’s called a Lis Pendens is filled to start the process. With a Non-Judicial State, a trustee (the bank) holds the title to your house, like an auto loan. They do not have to sue you to foreclose, so the process happens much faster. Once the foreclosure process is started, the entire process takes 1 month. Typically, banks start the foreclosure process once the mortgage is 5-7 months behind. Unfortunately, Georgia is a Non-Judicial State.

With a Non-Judicial State, you sign a Promissory note and a Security Deed when you buy your house. The Promissory Note is where you promise to make payments on the loan for the house.  The Security Deed, which is also referred to as the mortgage, is where you give the bank the legal right to take away your house if fail to make the payments. This process is called a foreclosure.  Make sure to read both The Promissory Note and the Security Deed as they spell out exactly what you’ve agreed to from a legal standpoint.

It is common for the Security Deed and the Promissory Note (mortgage) to be sold to other banks. The bank you received your mortgage from may not be the bank who owns it now. There may be a loan servicer, or a third-party company who you make your payment to. The loan servicer processes the billing for the bank who owns your mortgage. If you are not sure who owns your mortgage you have the right under federal law to write and ask for the name, address, and contract information of the bank who owns the mortgage. 

It is common for the Security Deed and the Promissory Note (mortgage) to be sold to other banks. The bank you received your mortgage from may not be the bank who owns it now. There may be a loan servicer, or a third-party company who you make your payment to. The loan servicer processes the billing for the bank who owns your mortgage. If you are not sure who owns your mortgage you have the right under federal law to write and ask for the name, address, and contract information of the bank who owns the mortgage.

If you feel you are being treated unfairly by the bank that owns your mortgage, here are some links to file a complaint. Keep in mind, different banks are regulated by different state and federal agencies. National banks, such as Chase or Wells Fargo, are going to be regulated by the federal government. Local banks are going to be regulated by state and federal state banking regulators. To file and online complaint, use the link below:

http://www.helpwithmybank.gov/complaints
If you would like to find out who regulates the bank who owns your mortgage, see the links below:

http://www.ffiec.gov/consumercenter/default.aspx
http://www.helpwithmybank.com/national_banks/index.html
http//www2.fdic.gov/idasp/main.asp

If you believe you are the victim of a wrongful foreclosure, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. You can contact the State Bar of Georgia at 404-527-8700 and they can help you with a referral. You may be eligible for free legal service. If you live in metro Atlanta, call Atlanta Legal Aid at 404-377-0701. For all other Georgia Counties, coat Georgia Legal Services at 404-894-7707 or 1-800-822-5391.

If you are a tenant of a home that has been foreclosed on and you have a lease, you have right to stay in the home and must be given a minimum of 90 days notice to move out. This does not apply if you are a member of the foreclosed persons immediate family.

If you have been foreclosed and feel you cannot afford to live elsewhere, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs has rental assistance programs for Georgia residents. They can be reached at 404-679-4940 or 1-800-359-4663. 

Schedule A Consultation

Fill out the form below, and we will be in touch shortly.