How Long Does the Foreclosure Process Take?
In Pennsylvania, the foreclosure process can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year, depending on the circumstances of the case. Fortunately, this means that homeowners often have time to raise a defense against unscrupulous lenders who are unfairly foreclosing on their properties. To learn more about your own legal rights during the foreclosure process, please contact an experienced Philadelphia mortgage foreclosure lawyer who can advise you.
When Can a Lender Initiate Foreclosure Proceedings?
Under Pennsylvania law, lenders must wait at least 120 days from a homeowner’s first missed payment to file for foreclosure, which usually takes the form of a notice of intent to initiate foreclosure proceedings. This letter must be followed by a second notice detailing the homeowner’s rights, as well as available resources like the Pennsylvania Housing Agency Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP). However, this program has a limited amount of funding, so it is not uncommon (during the latter part of the year) for the program to run out of funds. In these cases, the lender will not be required to send the second notice.
Once a homeowner has received a lender’s notice of intent to foreclose, the lender can file suit after 30 days (excluding holidays and weekends). During this time, the homeowner can respond to the court filing. This is an important step for homeowners, as those who fail to respond could end up the recipient of a default judgment, in which the court rules for the lender, meaning that the lender can automatically foreclose on the property. If a homeowner does file an answer, on the other hand, the lender will not be allowed to seek a default judgment.
Contesting a foreclosure can take months, depending on the number of motions filed and the court’s schedule. In the event that a borrower is unable to successfully contest a foreclosure, the lender can list the property for sale. However, the sale cannot be held immediately. Instead, the lender will be required to advertise the sale in a newspaper once a week for three weeks, with the first advertisement being published no less than 21 days prior to the sale. Similarly, lenders must post a notice of sale on the property in question and serve a copy on the borrower at least 30 days before the auction.
If a borrower fails to vacate the premises before the sale, the purchaser of the property can initiate eviction proceedings. Once the owner has filed an eviction complaint in court, the former borrower will have 20 days to respond. In some cases, this process could take a number of months. If, however, the tenant does not respond within the 20 day timeframe, the new owner can schedule an eviction date within 30 to 90 days.
Call an Experienced Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
If you recently received a notice of foreclosure on your home, please contact dedicated mortgage foreclosure attorney Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to learn more about how much time you have to contest the proceedings.