The Pennsylvania Foreclosure Process
Lenders are required to follow a number of rules when foreclosing on a property. For instance, lenders must give property owners a certain amount of time to make any overdue mortgage payments before continuing with the foreclosure process. Similarly, lenders are required to send a few different notices before they can actually foreclose on a property. To ensure that your own lender is complying with Pennsylvania’s foreclosure process laws, please contact our experienced Philadelphia foreclosure defense lawyer today.
Initiating the Foreclosure Process
Lenders initiate the foreclosure process by filing a complaint with the court and then serving that complaint on the homeowner, who is also issued a summons. Homeowners then have a limited number of days to respond to the complaint by filing an answer in which they can address each allegation. Homeowners can also bring up defenses against the foreclosure itself and any claims against the lender at this time. Borrowers who fail to respond to the complaint, on the other hand, risk the court issuing a default judgment on the plaintiff’s behalf.
Filing a Motion for Summary Judgment
If a homeowner avoids a default judgment by responding to a complaint, the lender in question will most likely file a motion for summary judgment requesting that the court grant judgment in their favor because:
- There is no dispute as to the facts of the case;
- The borrower’s defense lacks merit; or
- The homeowner was unable to prove wrongdoing on the lender’s part.
If the court denies summary judgment, a trial will be held. Only when a lender is granted summary judgment or the homeowner loses at trial will courts enter a final judgment of foreclosure against the borrower.
Notice of Sale
If a court officially forecloses on a Pennsylvania property, the lender can begin the process of initiating a foreclosure sale. However, this is only possible when the lenders comply with certain foreclosure rules. For instance, notice of a foreclosure sale must be:
- Posted on the property at least one month before the sale;
- Served on the parties at least one month before the scheduled sale; and
- Published in a newspaper once a week for three weeks, with the first notice being published no less than three weeks before the sale.
Even when these foreclosure notice requirements have been met, homeowners are permitted to reinstate their loan by catching up on payments in default, as well as any expenses and fees incurred as a result of default, up to one hour before bidding at the sale begins.
Once a foreclosure sale has begun, the property in question will go to the highest bidder, which is usually the foreclosing lender. When the sale proceeds from a property are not enough to repay the full amount of a loan, the difference between the sale price and the debt total is referred to as a deficiency. In Pennsylvania, foreclosing banks can obtain personal judgements, which are also known as deficiency judgments, against the borrower for the amount of the deficiency, but only if the foreclosing party files a separate action within six months of the sale.
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If you recently received notice of foreclosure on your property, please contact dedicated foreclosure defense lawyer Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com today to learn more about your legal options.