Ohio foreclosure law requires a mortgage lender to file a civil complaint to foreclosure a mortgage. In other words, a mortgage lender cannot simply “seize” the property without going through the court system. In some states, a lender can obtain title to the property through a nonjudicial foreclosure such as a sheriff’s sale.
A Foreclosure Timeline
Each foreclosure timeline is slightly different for several reasons. First, the decision to foreclose lies with the mortgage lender. A person is in default if that person fails to make the payment on or before the due date set forth in the mortgage. In most cases, the lender simply charges a penalty for late payments instead of filing a foreclosure complaint for one or two missed payments.
Most lenders send several collection letters and turn the account over to a foreclosure attorney who also sends several letters before filing a foreclosure complaint. However, the timing is up to the lender. Some lenders move more quickly than other lenders. It is impossible to know how many months a lender will allow a mortgage to be in arrears before filing a foreclosure complaint.
Another factor in the foreclosure timeline is whether the owner responds to the foreclosure complaint. If you receive foreclosure papers, you have the right to file a response to the complaint to fight the allegations contained in the lawsuit.
If you choose to fight the foreclosure, the foreclosure process takes much longer. If you fail to respond to the complaint, the lender files a motion for summary or default judgment.
In the case of a default, the lender could receive a Judgment Decree in Foreclosure within three to four months after filing the complaint. However, the court’s schedule is yet another factor in the timing of a foreclosure.
Some courts handle substantially higher volumes of cases than other courts. Therefore, a foreclosure complaint can get bogged down in the court system thereby delaying a default judgment or hearing.
Stopping the Foreclosure Process
There are ways to stop a foreclosure once it has been filed. The first way is to pay the entire past due amount plus costs and attorney fees. However, most individuals facing a foreclosure do not have the resources to come up with a large lump sum to stop a foreclosure. Therefore, many people turn to bankruptcy for help.
Filing a bankruptcy case immediately puts a hold on the foreclosure process. The automatic stay provisions of the Bankruptcy Code prohibit a creditor from taking any action to collect a debt once a bankruptcy case is filed, including proceeding with a foreclosure proceeding. Before the mortgage lender can proceed with the foreclosure, it must file a motion with the bankruptcy court to request permission to continue with the foreclosure. Unless the lender can show good cause why it should be allowed to proceed, the bankruptcy case stops the foreclosure from proceeding.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor must bring the balance of the mortgage current before the case is closed or before the court grants the lender’s motion in order to save the home. However, in a Chapter 13 case, the debtor spreads out the past due payments over several years in a bankruptcy plan to save the home. The lender receives a small payment each month from the bankruptcy trustee to repay the past due mortgage payments while the debtor resumes regular mortgage payments outside of the bankruptcy plan.
For many people facing foreclosure, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is the only affordable way to save their home from a foreclosure sale. In addition to saving their home, they are able to get out from under other debts, so they have a fresh start to rebuild their credit and financial well-being when they complete their Chapter 13 case.
Call an Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney for A Free Consultation
If you are facing a foreclosure, there is hope. You do not have to surrender your home without a fight. Our office can help you find an affordable way to catch up your mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure. Do not let a financial crisis take away the home you have worked so hard to provide for your family. Call to learn how filing bankruptcy can save your home.
Contact The Chris Wesner Law Office, LLC by calling 1 (937) 339-8001 or by using the contact form on our website to request a free appointment with an Ohio bankruptcy attorney. We have offices in Troy, Springfield, Xenia, Piqua, and Beavercreek for your convenience.