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.