There are numerous reasons why homeowners may find themselves facing
foreclosure, especially in today's economic times. Loss of a job, an illness,
or other unexpected expenses can sometimes lead homeowners to find themselves
behind in their mortgage payments. As a homeowner potentially facing foreclosure,
you may receive numerous letters and other notices from your bank. Once
a homeowner falls more than three months behind on their mortgage payments,
he or she is in danger of having a foreclosure action started against
him or her.
A foreclosure action is begun when your bank files a Summons and Complaint
against the homeowner in Supreme Court in the county where the homeowner
lives. For example, if the homeowner lives in Queens County, the Summons
and Complaint must be filed in Queens County Supreme Court. The homeowner
must then be served with the Summons and Complaint. If you are a homeowner
who has received a foreclosure Summons and Complaint, you should not ignore
it. As a homeowner, you have either 20 or 30 days to put in what is known
as an Answer to the Summons and Complaint. The Answer is an important
tool for a homeowner facing foreclosure, as it is where the homeowner
gets to respond to the bank, raise defenses, and potentially raise their
own claims against the bank.
Many homeowners make the mistake of filing what is known as a "pro-se"
answer, without first contacting an attorney. However, in doing so, many
homeowners often give up numerous potential defenses to the foreclosure
action by not asserting these defenses in their answer, and thus giving
up their right to ever assert these defenses in the foreclosure case,
which is also known as "waiving" these defenses. In order to
avoid waiving what could be viable defenses to the foreclosure, a homeowner
faced with a foreclosure action should immediately contact a
Queens foreclosure defense attorney to discuss his or her options.