Although arguably our nation’s economy is on the upswing, complete recovery for many is still out of reach. Homeowners across South Carolina still face the real possibility of foreclosure, and thus it is important to publicize the important steps that can be taken before the foreclosure action is final. A foreclosure action is the lawsuit that a lender files with the court asking for a homeowner mortgagor’s property to be sold in order to satisfy their debt to the lender. Many South Carolinians are unaware of the programs available to eligible homeowners facing a foreclosure action, where they may be afforded the opportunity to mitigate damages while they face losing their home.
In May 2011, Chief Justice Jean Toal of the South Carolina Supreme Court authored an administrative order with the purpose of publicizing and protecting the rights of eligible homeowners regarding loan modification, short sale, and other loss mitigation opportunities before a foreclosure action may proceed. A further purpose of the administrative order is to insure uniformity in procedure throughout the state of South Carolina regarding foreclosure actions “…so that mortgage foreclosure actions are not unnecessarily dismissed, delayed, or inappropriately concluded while loan modification or other loss mitigation efforts are being pursued.”
Justice Toal’s order mandates that before a foreclosure hearing or foreclosure sale can be held in any foreclosure action, the homeowner mortgagor must be given notice of their right to any number of foreclosure intervention options, for the purpose of seeking resolution of the foreclosure action by loan modification, short sale, or other means of loss mitigation. While the homeowner mortgagor applies for a loan modification, or other foreclosure intervention option, the foreclosure action is put on hold.
Once a foreclosure action is commenced, the Order states that the homeowner mortgagor has the right to deal exclusively with the lender’s attorneys. In many instances, this is much easier than dealing directly with the lender.
Although it is possible for a homeowner to represent themselves, upon being served with notice of the foreclosure lawsuit many homeowners elect to hire an attorney. If the homeowner mortgagor is represented by an attorney, all communications meant for the mortgagor shall be directed towards their attorney. The attorney becomes the sole point of contact for either party throughout the foreclosure and intervention procedure, facilitating communications between the parties.
Regarding foreclosure, under South Carolina law the objective is to avail homeowners of every opportunity to keep their homes. Foreclosure is a last resort after all other available avenues have been exhausted. Foreclosure intervention options must be made known to the homeowner and thoroughly documented before the lender is able to move forward with the foreclosure action. The order sets forth specific guidelines regarding communications between lender and mortgagor. The rules set forth by Justice Toal’s order provide homeowners facing the frightening prospect of foreclosure a right to know of all tools available to fight against losing their home.
Contact Our Real Estate Attorneys Today
The prospect of losing one’s home is daunting, but there are loss mitigation opportunities that will defer the foreclosure proceedings and allow for another bite at the loan modification apple. Contact our real estate attorneys at the Klok Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation.