GET HELP NOW
If you encounter any of the things we describe on this page, please get help right away.
Call (800) 834-5001 for free housing counseling assistance with a HUD-approved housing counselor to find out whether you are eligible for a loan modification or other foreclosure relief programs. Don’t pay when you can get help for free. It is illegal to demand payment up front in exchange for helping a homeowner apply for a loan modification or other foreclosure relief.
Check out our Legal Clinic Calendar for FREE legal clinics for victims of wrongful foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure rescue scams and other foreclosure-related legal issues.
DON’T GET DUAL-TRACKED
The Homeowner’s Bill of Rights prevents the practice of Dual Tracking. Dual tracking is when a homeowner has submitted a “complete” loan application and the mortgage company starts or continues with foreclosure anyway. The law allows the mortgage company to decide when a loan modification application is “complete.”
DON’T GET LOST IN THE SHUFFLE
One thing people may not realize is that the mortgage loans are owned by banks and can be sold to other lenders or mortgage servicing companies. We have heard from homeowners who had their loan sold to a new mortgage servicer while they were in the middle of applying for a loan modification, were doing a trial loan modification plan or were approved for a permanent loan modification. The problem arises when this new company is not up-to-date on the borrower’s communication with his/her old lender and demands monthly mortgage rates at the pre-modification level.
DON’T GET PUSHED AROUND
The Homeowner’s Bill of Rights also requires lenders to provide you with a Single Point of Contact or SPOC. The SPOC can be a single person or a group of people. We have heard from homeowners who can never seem to get the SPOC or, if the SPOC is a team, get passed from one person to another.
DON’T GET SCAMMED
People facing the threat of foreclosure often get taken advantage of by foreclosure rescue scams. Two common scams are by phony housing counseling agencies and by so-called foreclosure consultants. These scams include things like –
- Phony housing counseling agencies that charge you fees up front to qualify for loan modifications or other foreclosure relief and promise to do things for you that you can do for yourself or could get with the help of free assistance.
- Foreclosure consultants that pose as agents of “investors” who want to “buy” your property before foreclosure, promising to give you money after the sale if you move out quickly and transfer title of the property to him/her, or claim they know “special laws” that can “force” your lender to give you a loan modification. These fraudsters ask for money up front. If you give them title, they collect rent, wait for the bank to foreclose, then disappear – leaving you liable for the mortgage debt.
Other sure signs that you may be dealing with a foreclosure rescue scam are:
- Requests for payment only in cash or in advance
- “Guarantees” to stop the foreclosure
- Requests for you to transfer or remove your name from title
- Pressure to make false statements on documents
- Advice that you keep the “great deal” they’re giving you a secret
- In-home visits by those who claim they know you are in foreclosure
- Pressure to sign an agreement, especially if they won’t let you see every page
- Promises that bankruptcy is an easy way to fix your foreclosure problems
- Requests to send monthly mortgage payments to them, instead of to your lender
- Use of terms like “attorney-backed,” or “attorney-affiliated” without providing the names of licensed attorneys
Understand the Foreclosure Timeline
California is a non-judicial foreclosure state. This means that a mortgage company does not have to file a case in court in order to sell your house at a foreclosure auction.
- To understand the foreclosure timeline and what you can do at each stage of the foreclosure process, read our quick Foreclosure Timeline Guide.
Understand the CFPB Complaint Process
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a new agency that protects consumers from unfair business practices by certain companies, including mortgage lenders and servicers. If you think that you have been treated unfairly by your mortgage company, you can take action by filing a complaint with the CFPB.
- To learn how to file a complaint with the CFPB and what happens after you file, go to File a Complaint.