Foreclosure Prevention and Defense (Maryland)
The sooner you act, the more options you have.
- Once you have received a “Notice of Intent to Foreclose,” a foreclosure action could be filed against you within 45 days.
- Homeowners have a right to mediation, which puts a temporary halt to the foreclosure proceeding, but they must request mediation in a timely and proper manner.
Please do not wait — contact our law firm to learn about your rights and your options. Heather Gomes has experience helping hundreds of Maryland homeowners facing foreclosure and may be able to help you by:
- providing recommendations regarding alternatives to foreclosure
- explaining the foreclosure process and timeline
- representing you at foreclosure mediation for a nominal fee
- pursuing litigation or other appropriate strategies to further your goals
- representing you in bankruptcy as a last resort
Foreclosure Prevention Tips
- Contact your lender as soon as you experience financial difficulty.
- If you are behind on your mortgage, or about to be, contact a housing counselor, whose services are free, right away. Call 877-462-7555 or go to mdhope.org (click “Help for Homeowners,” click “Counseling,” click “complete list of DHCD supported housing counseling agencies”).
- Open and respond to all mail from your lender.
- Keep a copy of everything you submit to your lender; keep a log too.
- Be knowledgeable about your monthly budget and know the difference between high priority debt and low priority debt.
- Do not pay for help modifying your mortgage; there are a lot of scams out there.
The Foreclosure Process in Maryland
The “Notice of Intent to Foreclose” (NOI)
- Is sent to the homeowner 90 days after default and at least 45 days before an action to foreclose can be filed on residential property.
- Is sent via regular and certified mail.
- Must contain information required by law informing the homeowner how much is owed, who it is owed to, and information about housing counseling.
- Is accompanied by a loss mitigation application.
- States whether the lender offers pre-file mediation (before the foreclosure action is filed).
Upon receipt, go see a housing counselor! Call 877-462-7555 or go to mdhope.org.
- It is not too early to contact an attorney, especially if you are considering bankruptcy.
The Foreclosure Action
- Ninety days after your first missed payment is the earliest that the mortgage company can file a foreclosure action in the Circuit Court in your county.
- The foreclosure action is called an “Order to Docket,” and it should say “Notice of Foreclosure Action” at the top.
- It must be personally served on you (or an adult in the home).
- The foreclosure action must include one of the following two affidavits:
- “Preliminary Loss Mitigation Affidavit” — if the mortgage company has not started or completed review of the loan for alternatives to foreclosure (“loss mitigation”); or
- “Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit” — if the mortgage company believes it has no available alternatives to foreclosure.
- Contact an attorney!
Request for Foreclosure Mediation
- Homeowner has 25 days from service of Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit to request mediation, and pay $50 mediation fee.
- Homeowner can ask for fee waiver by getting a form online and submitting it with the request for mediation.
- Mediation request is forwarded to the Office of Administrative Hearings, where an administrative law judge will mediate the case within 60 days after being notified of the request by the court.
- Homeowner and lender exchange documents prior to mediation (see instructions with mediation request form).
At the Mediation
- Mediation is an opportunity to explore all available options to prevent foreclosure.
- The mediation is not a formal court proceeding.
- It is a meeting between you and your lender, and takes place around a table.
- An attorney for your lender will be present, the lender’s representative usually appears by phone, and you may have an advocate/attorney/friend/spouse with you.
- It is most helpful if the homeowner has already submitted an application for loss mitigation PRIOR to mediation.
- The foreclosure sale is put on hold until at least 15 days after the mediation.
Post-Mediation Actions to Stop a Foreclosure Sale
- File Motion to Stay or Dismiss in the Circuit Court no later than 15 days after mediation.
- Include a sworn oath or attach a sworn affidavit
- State the actual and legal basis of each defense that you have to the validity of the lien or lien instrument or the right of the mortgage company to foreclose.
- Attach supporting documents.
- State whether there are any other pending actions involving the property.
- Serve the motion on the opposing party and file the motion with a certificate of service.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
- Consult an attorney as soon as possible.
- Bankruptcy must be filed before the foreclosure sale.
- Your attorney will evaluate whether bankruptcy is appropriate and feasible.
- See Bankruptcy Basics