We receive this type of question occasionally after a client calls us in a panic, saying, “Help, what should I do? I’ve been served with a Foreclosure Complaint from my Bank. Can you help me?”. Most homeowners who get served with a foreclosure complaint are overwhelmed, confused, fearful, and do not know what to do or whether there are any options to settle this action.
The quick answer to this question is Yes, Arvanitakis Law Group can help you! Let us explain the process and the steps needed to move forward.
What is a Complaint for Foreclosure?
This is sometimes called a Complaint for Foreclosure or a petition. The complaint for foreclosure lays out the claims of the foreclosure suit. It will have details concerning the mortgage, the promissory note, and the property to be foreclosed.
The judicial foreclosure process starts when a lender (your Bank) sues a delinquent borrower (you) in the county where the property is located (your home). To start the suit, the lender (the plaintiff) files a document called a “complaint for foreclosure” or “petition for foreclosure” in court. Then, you receive the complaint for foreclosure in the mail.
When it comes to foreclosure, we defend the homeowner only if the Bank is suing for foreclosure. We do not represent banks in foreclosure actions.
Facts about Complaint for Foreclosure
Here is some essential information regarding a Complaint for Foreclosure:
- The homeowner has up to 20 days to respond, or you will have defaulted on your loan under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.140(a).
- If you have defaulted, then the Bank can quickly foreclose on the homeowner.
- A foreclosure attorney can get you some more time to deal with this issue. The benefit of adding more time is perhaps your circumstances will change for the better. A homeowner may find a job, or their finances can improve. Or, the homeowner may be able to modify the loan.
- If the homeowner simply cannot afford the house, the homeowner’s attorney can negotiate a settlement for cash for keys or deed in lieu of foreclosure.
- Another alternative is entering into a consent judgment with a waiver of deficiency. In this type of settlement, the Bank agrees not to go after the homeowner for any deficiency owed on the mortgage after it has been foreclosed.
So the bottom line is that once you get served with a foreclosure complaint, there is no need to panic. You still have time to work out a potential settlement and come out with a good outcome. Most importantly, just because you are served with a foreclosure complaint does not mean your house has been foreclosed. People often confuse foreclosure proceedings with the Bank actually owing the house again. The Bank doesn’t take the title of the home until a final judgment has been entered, and the Bank takes it to auction.