KNOWLEDGE IS POWER: GET A LEGAL CHECK-UP
A Legal Check-Up is an interactive online interview created by the California Consumer Justice Coalition that gives you practical tips about how to deal with certain legal issues and gives you referrals to free and low cost legal services. The online Legal Check-Ups cannot replace the information and advice you get from discussing your situation with an attorney and are only meant to help you better understand the legal context surrounding the issue(s), as well as to help you understand steps you may take either immediately or in the future. At the end of the Legal Check-Up, you will have a chance to get an emailed copy of the questions, your answers and all the information we provide to you. You will need the most recent version of Adobe Reader to read what we send you.
If you need legal assistance, you can also go to our Legal Clinic Calendar for dates, times and locations of FREE legal clinics where you can talk one-on-one with a housing counselor and/or an attorney about loan modifications, problems with your mortgage company and related foreclosure issues. When you come to the clinic, bring your Legal Check-Up results with you.
DEALING WITH LOAN MODIFICATION PROBLEMS
This Legal Check-Up assumes that you have enough income to qualify for a loan modification. If you are uncertain whether you qualify, we recommend you take our Loan Modification Legal Check-Up and speak with one of our HUD-approved housing counselors.
The most common complaints we hear from borrowers who are in the loan modification process are:
- My mortgage company lost documents and/or asked me for the same documents over and over again.
- My mortgage company gave me confusing or conflicting information about what they want or expect me to do.
- I can’t reach or get answers from my contact person or contact team at the mortgage company.
- My loan modification was denied for improper reasons or for no reason at all.
- They went through with or refused to postpone the foreclosure sale, even though I had a pending loan modification.
- My trial loan modification period keeps going and doesn’t result in a permanent modification My loan was transferred to a new mortgage company and no one told me or I got wrong information about the new company.
- My new mortgage company won’t recognize or accept my modified payments so now I’m facing foreclosure.
- My new mortgage company made me start the loan modification process all over again.
Depending on your situation, some of these actions may violate the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights and other laws designed to protect borrowers. If you qualify for a loan modification and are experiencing any of these problems, this Legal Check-Up is for you.
DEALING WITH LOAN SERVICING PROBLEMS
If you are not in the loan modification process right now but are having problems with the way your mortgage company is handling your loan, find out what you can do about it.
FORECLOSURE RESCUE SCAMS
People facing the threat of foreclosure often get taken advantage of by foreclosure rescue scams. Signs that you may be dealing with a foreclosure rescue scam are:
- The person or company you give money to calls themselves a “foreclosure consultant” or “lending consultant,”
- Promises to give you money after the foreclosure sale if you move out quickly but transfer title to them first,
- Promises that the person knows “special laws” that can force your lender to give you a loan modification,
- Requests for payment only in cash or in advance, especially for services that are available for free (like housing counseling,)
- “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 secret the “great deal” you are getting from them.
- 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.
If you have experienced any of these problems or want to avoid them, this Legal Check-Up is for you.
HOMEOWNER AND TENANT RIGHTS POST-FORECLOSURE
After the foreclosure sale, a new owner will come into the picture.
If you are the homeowner still living at the house after foreclosure, you may be trying to figure out whether to challenge the foreclosure in court, what to do if the new owner tries to evict you and how to figure out your other options, such as doing a cash for keys agreement or becoming a tenant of the new owner.
If you live at a property that has been sold at foreclosure and you are a tenant, you may be dealing with a range of issues, including:
- Whether the new owner has to respect to the terms of your tenancy.
- Whether the new owner can make you move out.
- If they have the right to make you move, how much advanced notice and relocation assistance they have to give you.
- What rights you have if you are living in a converted garage or in part of a sub-divided single-family home.
- What rights you have if your old landlord was part of the Section 8 Housing Assistant Payment (HAP) program.
- Whether you can demand proof of ownership before you have to pay rent to anyone claiming to be your new landlord.
- What to do if the new owner tries to evict you.
- What to do if you don’t find out about the new owner or the eviction until you see a “notice to vacate” posted by the sheriff.
- And more …
If you are experiencing any of these problems, this Legal Check-Up is for you.
If you have received a 5-Day Lockout Notice, a Summons and Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) Complaint or a 3-Day Notice from your landlord, see an attorney immediately. Eviction cases move quickly. Deadlines are short. Don’t wait to get help.
Understanding 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.