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San Francisco Chronicle Calls for More Legal Aid, Better Regulations for Foreclosure

November 6, 2009

As San Bernardino mortgage loan modification attorneys, we were pleased to see a recent editorial on problems with California's foreclosure process in the San Francisco Chronicle. On Nov. 1, the newspaper called for more attention to the legal side of foreclosures, from the process itself to the lack of legal representation for homeowners who cannot afford it. The Chronicle said homeowners facing foreclosure should have a day in court and more notice of foreclosure sales of their homes. And it called on the Legislature to allow legal services organizations to receive existing federal funding, a cost-free fix that would give more low-income people access to game-changing representation.

In California, the vast majority of foreclosures are non-judicial, which means lenders do not need to file a lawsuit to repossess and sell a home. Instead, lenders must file a notice of sale at least two weeks before the sale is to take place and notify the homeowner at least 20 days before by letter and by posting a sign. The Chronicle compared this system unfavorably to tenants' rights laws, noting that no personal notice is required even for the foreclosure sale. And once homeowners do receive notice, it said, they are unlikely to know what to do about it, even in cases of clear wrongdoing. An attorney quoted in the article said most Californians need an attorney to identify predatory lending or other problems that could form the basis of a challenge to the foreclosure. The Chronicle called for more access to legal aid or court-appointed attorneys for low-income people, as well as more access to the courts themselves.

As Chino loan modification lawyers, we're sorry to say that we agree. Just like in other parts of the legal world, people involved in a foreclosure tend to get better results if they have the resources to hire an attorney. This is partly because attorneys have the experience and knowledge to identify problems with the foreclosure proceeding or the underlying mortgage, and to take quick action on those problems. (This is also true at the beginning of the mortgage process, when people with no legal knowledge can become victims of those willing to exploit them for a quick dollar.) However, we have also noticed throughout the housing crisis that our clients get more attention and better results from lenders after they hire us, suggesting that lenders know they can't get away with the same behaviors once attorneys are on the job.

In fact, Howard Law LLP is more than happy to file lawsuits, as the editorial mentions, when necessary to stop a foreclosure or penalize illegal behavior by lenders. In a foreclosure, we can raise an affirmative defense, which means we agree that the loan is in default, but other circumstances make the foreclosure unfair. This has been true for many of the cases brought to our Downey loan modification attorneys. In cases of predatory lending -- in which a lender or its employee broke the law when the loan was made -- we can not only stop the foreclosure, but sometimes cancel the loan outright. Whenever possible, we seek to not just stop the foreclosure, but leave the client in a better financial position than before, whether that means a lower mortgage payment or another action.

If you believe you were treated unfairly by your loan servicer and you're ready to fight back, Howard Law can help. To set up a free, confidential evaluation of your case, please contact us online or call 1-800-872-5925 today.