Foreclosure Defense — Strategic Bankruptcy Options

Strategic Comment: There are two ways for you stop foreclosure, sale and eviction dead in its tracks. One is to file bankruptcy under Chapter 13 which is an opportunity for debtors to reorganize their payments to creditors.

  • An automatic stay goes into effect immediately upon filing with the Bankruptcy Court. Creditors who say or do anything in furtherance of collecting a debt are committing a federal crime from the moment it is filed, whether they know about it or not.
  • However, the payments include fees to the Court and Trustee which exceeds 10% of what you pay into the Court for the benefit of your creditors, so since you are strapped for cash it further impedes your ability to work out a realistic plan.
  • Also for secured debts like mortgages, the lender can come into Bankruptcy court and ask the court to lift the automatic stay which in the past has been routinely granted and for the most part still is, UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING ELSE.
  • YOU SHOULD ALSO NAME, AS THE CREDITOR, THE ORIGINAL LENDER, and state the amount of the loan as a contingent liability to them. The fact is, in most cases, you have not been presented with proof of transfer of anything, nor seen any assignment, or what rights or obligations were picked up in transactions after your closing by third parties who own the servicing rights, or the mortgage or the note. The Trustee or other party coming into court or posting notices of sale on your property probably is getting his/her marching orders from someone who either doesn’t have or can’t prove they know the amounts you paid, to whom or what is currently due. PLACE THE BURDEN WHERE IT BELONGS — ON THEM.
  • Then you should state the present mortgage servicing entity to whom you are now sending your payments (this applies only where the loan has been sold which is true in 95% of the cases) as a contingent liability in an unknown or unliquidated amount.
  • Then you should add a creditor “john Doe” as also an unknown unliquidated debt as the possible owner of a security under which he has ownership of the mortgage and note.
  • Then you should file an adversary proceeding or action under TILA, RESPA, fraud etc. making all appropriate claims for rescission, refund of interest, points, loss of value in the property etc.
If your case is handled in this way there is a higher probability that you will survive the motion for lifting of the stay as the movant will have to prove the chain of title and authority on the mortgage and note, thus giving rise the the issue of legal standing for them to standing in the courtroom at all.
The second option, if you are faced with foreclosure, sale or eviction is just file the TILA action in Federal court and then go the State Court and ask the State Court to issue a stay because there is pending litigation in Federal Court. Usually State Court judges are more than happy to get the matter off their desks and thus grant your motion for stay, but they might not be under no obligation to do so.
Remember that whether you go straight into Federal Civil Court or Federal bankruptcy Court, which is a different division, and you are NOT represented by counsel, the Judge must do the legal research himself to determine the merit of your claims. If you are represented by counsel you need to make damn sure he knows what he is doing. Most bankruptcy lawyers don’t know an adversary proceeding or TILA action from egg on the wall. They have no experience with it. Very few lawyers or judges know this area since it only became important in the last couple of years.
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