Back in 2010, I wrote about how long mortgage foreclosure takes in Pennsylvania.
Again, here are the basics. In Pennsylvania, we have a judicial foreclosure system, which means that foreclosure cases must be filed in Court. Still, there are specific steps to follow:
1) Notice of Intention to Foreclose, which is a letter sent to the homeowner by the mortgage company after a payment default of usually 3 months;
2) Act 91 Notice, a required notice sent to the homeowner indicating that they have a right to contact the PA Housing Finance Agency for assistance;
3) After a month wait, the mortgage company can then file a Complaint for Mortgage Foreclosure in Common Pleas Court;
This update is specifically for Allegheny County residents and it relates to Step 3. In Allegheny County for the past few years, there has been a Mortgage Mediation Program in Common Pleas Court. This program was designed to assist homeowners who were seeking a mortgage modification. Those homeowners in the program received an automatic stay on the foreclosure proceedings.
Many homeowners however discovered that they could easily delay the process even further by requesting postponements from the Judges.
It appears that the judges currently assigned to the Allegheny County program are attempting to speed up this process. Ultimately, this is good news for the program and for homeowners alike.
Remember that more than 50% of the homeowners who apply for mortgage modifications will be denied a modification. Don’t forget the fact that your mortgage company really doesn’t want to grant you a reduction in interest or a deferral of arrears or a principal writeoff. I’ve written about this before, but you’re dealing with a mortgage servicer who likely was not the original lender you received your mortgage from.
The bottom line is that the country’s best court-supervised mortgage modification programs offer close oversight from judges along with quick turn-around times.
Moreover, if you really want to save your home, do you want to stay in a foreclosure mediation program for 18 months, only to receive the news that you’ve been denied? Instead of being $6,000 behind on your mortgage, now you’re $18,000 or $24,000 behind. Ultimately, that’s going to make it quite a bit more difficult to successfully pay for a Chapter 13 payment plan to cure your mortgage arrears.
Personally, I have been glad that this program exists to help homeowners, but disappointed at times to receive calls from homeowners who were so far behind on their payments. It simply makes filing a Chapter 13 case that much more difficult.
Let me know if you have any other questions.