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McHenry County foreclosure defense attorneysThe impact of COVID-19 has been widespread, with public health concerns as well as an economic downfall. In response to stay-at-home and quarantine orders issued by local governments, non-essential businesses were forced to close. As a result, many people throughout the United States have lost their jobs. This has resulted in a record-setting number of unemployment claims, but it also left millions of people facing housing insecurity because of lost income. For families, even one parent losing his or her job can be devastating if they rely on that income to pay their rent or mortgage. When too many payments are missed, the lending institution can take possession of the home through legal foreclosure proceedings. If you are facing foreclosure on your home, you may be eligible for a loan modification. 

What Is Involved in the Foreclosure Process? 

Foreclosure is a legal process by which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who has defaulted on the loan. Usually, this means that the borrower stopped making payments to the lender, and foreclosure works by forcing the sale of the asset used as the collateral for the loan. In Illinois, foreclosures are judicial, which means the lender (the plaintiff) must file a lawsuit (a complaint) in court. The complaint is served to the borrower, along with a summons that typically provides 30 days for the borrower to file an answer.

CARES Act 

In response to this housing crisis, the federal government implemented certain protections for tenants and mortgage loan borrowers under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Renters who were residing in properties that had federally backed mortgages could not be evicted or fined for nonpayment of rent for 120 days between March 27 and July 24, 2020. After the four months were up, landlords were permitted to give tenants 30 days’ notice to vacate the premises. However, agencies including the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have now extended their single-family moratorium on evictions until December 31, 2020.

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Lake County foreclosure defense attorneysBuying your first home can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming to take on such a major responsibility. Regardless if you are single or married, it is important to carefully consider your mortgage and what you can afford in terms of a loan. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been furloughed or laid off from their jobs for an indefinite period of time. Although they may be entitled to unemployment, those funds may not cover their monthly mortgage payment. The federal government has issued protections for tenants and mortgage loan borrowers under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. However, once this moratorium expires, home owners may still be struggling to keep afloat financially if they cannot return to work. Forensic loan auditing can help reveal any violation of the law with regard to the loan package. An experienced attorney can help determine if this specific type of auditing can help in your foreclosure defense

Uncovering Violations in Your Loan Package

The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) was created by the federal government to ensure that consumers are given accurate information when they enter into credit transactions. TILA covers credit loans, including mortgages, home equity loans, and credit cards. The disclosures by lenders should be consistent and standardized, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. If the creditor does not disclose pertinent data to the borrowing party, the creditor may be liable to pay damages to the borrower.
Examples of common loan violations may include any of the following:

  • Truth in Lending Act violations: This occurs when a creditor fails to disclose information in writing regarding the terms of a loan or any type of credit transaction. 
  • HUD violations: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulates the housing industry. Housing providers, including landlords or management companies that refuse to rent or sell dwellings to people based on race, color, nationality, religion, sex, familial status, or disability are in violating of federal law.
  • Interest rate violations: When the terms of your loan, such as the interest rate and structure (fixed, adjustable, balloon) are not fully disclosed, this may be considered a violation. Many first-time homeowners do not realize that their mortgage payments can go up substantially once the term ends.   
  • Predatory lending practices: In some cases, lending institutions engage in unethical actions in order to obtain business. This may include charging excessive or hidden fees, not disclosing appropriate information, or not notifying borrowers of their right to cancel a loan.

An attorney can help uncover the above violations and assist you with defending your home foreclosure by holding those accountable. In certain situations, you may also be eligible for remedies such as a loan modification or mortgage relief programs. 

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Libertyville foreclosure defense lawyerIn March of this year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a moratorium on foreclosures for all single-family mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The moratorium was in response to the anticipated financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on households across the country. The move was shortly followed by a similar directive from the Federal Housing Financial Agency (FHFA), which ordered the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Company (Freddie Mac) to suspend foreclosures for at least 60 days.

Shortly thereafter, federal lawmakers passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide financial assistance to millions of American families. In the months that followed, the foreclosure moratoriums were extended several times. Though they are set to end on August 31, 2020, in Chicago, Gov. Pritzker has extended the moratorium to last an additional 30 days. However, the financial assistance offered by the CARES Act already expired earlier this month, leaving many Illinois residents wondering if there is any other help available.

Lake County Offers Renters’ Assistance

For those who rent their homes, several agencies in Lake County have established programs to provide assistance with rent, food, and utility bills. Community Partners for Affordable Housing and other groups say that their programs are open to county residents who have been financially affected by the pandemic. Those who have lost their job, have reduced income, or unexpected expenses related to COVID-19 are allowed to apply, though income and savings limits could affect an applicant’s eligibility for aid. For those who are approved for rent assistance, the funds are paid to their landlords directly.

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Libertyville foreclosure defense lawyerEven if you have never owned your own home before and do not have a track record of missed payments, the failure to make mortgage payments will eventually lead your lender to file for foreclosure. Foreclosure is the legal process through which a lender can seize a home from a borrower who has failed to live up to his or her obligations set forth by the mortgage agreement. While there are other violations that could lead to foreclosure, the overwhelming majority of foreclosure filings are prompted by the borrower failing to make payments.

The foreclosure process can be intimidating and extremely challenging for the average homeowner. It is very easy to make mistakes under such confusing circumstances, and a single error could end up costing you thousands of dollars. If you are behind on your mortgage, and foreclosure is looming, be sure to avoid these common mistakes that many homeowners make.

Mistake 1: Avoiding Your Lender

According to Illinois law, a mortgage lender must wait until you are 120 days or more delinquent on your mortgage to initiate foreclosure proceedings. However, the lender will most likely begin calling you and sending letters as soon as you miss a payment. Communication will probably increase as you get closer to being in default. While it may be uncomfortable to do so, you need to pick up the phone and talk with your lender. Doing nothing is not in your best interest. In most cases, your lender will have programs available that could allow you to work things out and avoid foreclosure altogether.

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Lake County foreclosure defense lawyerFalling behind on your mortgage payments is stressful for anyone. The thought of foreclosure looming is not a situation that any homeowner chooses to be in. The foreclosure process is handled through the court system, which means you can fight it. There are legal defenses that can be presented to help you keep your home. However, it is a complicated process. That is why you need an Illinois foreclosure defense attorney to represent you. Depending on your circumstances, one or more defenses may be available to you. Below are some common arguments that may be applicable to your foreclosure case.

Statute of Limitations Has Passed

Has it been a long time since you stopped making payments to when the mortgage lender started the foreclosure? There is a chance the statute of limitations has passed. Your attorney will be able to tell you whether the deadline has passed or not by looking further into the details of your case.

The Foreclosure Party Cannot Prove Legal Standing

The only party who can bring a foreclosure case is the loan owner. If he or she cannot prove the loan, then there is no legal standing. It is a common procedure for banks to sell loans over and over during the life of your mortgage. Determining the rightful loan owner can be challenging for the bank.

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