The foreclosure process is a frightening one for any homeowner. The prospect of being evicted from your home after a foreclosure is particularly upsetting. Fortunately, there are options available to many struggling homeowners who are facing eviction. Read on to learn more about how to stop eviction after a foreclosure.
The Foreclosure and Eviction Process
The first step in determining how to stop an eviction is to understand the foreclosure and eviction processes. The exact procedure will vary by state and will also depend on if the foreclosure is judicially supervised or is unsupervised by a court.
Generally, after you miss a certain number of mortgage payments, the lender has the option to initiate foreclosure proceedings. You can expect to receive notices at various stages of the foreclosure processes. However, the exact types of notices will depend on the laws of your state. For this reason, it’s important to carefully review all correspondence you receive from your lender.
If you’re unable to come current with your outstanding mortgage payments, after a specified length of time, the property will be sold at a foreclosure sale. A new owner might enter a winning bid for the property, or, if no acceptable bid is received, your lender may end up with the title to your home. Thereafter, the new owner can commence legal proceedings to evict you – this is known as an "unlawful detainer" action.
The options available to you to stop an eviction will depend on whether a foreclosure sale has already occurred.
Before a Foreclosure Sale
Prior to the foreclosure sale, you may be able to stop an eviction by taking steps to prevent the foreclosure altogether. Communicate with your lender. Discuss how much you can afford to pay each month towards your outstanding balance. It may be possible to work out a payment plan and stay in your home. There may also be government aid available to you, including the Making Homes Affordable program and counseling available for those facing foreclosure through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Another option to stop an eviction is to file for bankruptcy, which may postpone a foreclosure sale until the bankruptcy is finalized. This may give you time to work out a plan to bring your mortgage payments current with your lender. However, the decision to file for bankruptcy is significant, and the process is complex. This option should also be discussed in detail with a bankruptcy attorney, so it may not be an ideal "quick fix" to a pending foreclosure or eviction.
After a Foreclosure Sale
Even if your home has already been sold at a foreclosure sale, options may still be available to you to delay or prevent an eviction. Depending on the laws of your state, you may be able to regain ownership of your home (and avoid an eviction) through a process known as statutory redemption. If your state allows for statutory redemption, during the redemption period you can "redeem" your property by paying off the purchase price of the house (plus costs and interest) after the foreclosure sale.
If statutory redemption is not available or financially feasible, you also have the option to voluntarily move out of the home to avoid eviction proceedings. You may want to consider negotiating your voluntary move-out so that the new owner need not evict you. Having an unlawful detainer judgment on your record will negatively impact your credit score, which may make it difficult to qualify as a renter. In some situations, the new homeowner may be willing to offer you "cash for keys," which is a lump-sum cash offer if you agree to vacate the home within a specified period of time and leave the property in good condition.
If an unlawful detainer action has already been filed, you may have an opportunity to oppose the action in court. Carefully review any legal documents you have received, preferably with an attorney. Take note of all deadlines to file responsive pleadings, and any scheduled court dates.
Get Matched with a Foreclosure Attorney
Navigating foreclosure and eviction can be daunting. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you understand the process and explore all available options. Contact a local foreclosure attorney today to learn more about your legal options.