Has your mortgage lender filed a foreclosure action against you? If so, then in the State of New York, the law requires settlement conferences where you and the lender can try to work out a settlement in lieu of foreclosure. This is New York's way of giving you one last chance to avoid losing your home.
What is a New York mandatory foreclosure settlement conference?
A mandatory foreclosure settlement conference – as above-mentioned – is a meeting at the court with the lender to find an alternative resolution to the foreclosure. The mandatory conference applies to residential property owners and is in pursuance of New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) Rule 3408.
The court will send you a notice that includes:
- the date, time, and place of the settlement conference;
- what to bring to it; and
- what to expect from it.
Usually, the conference date is set within two months after the plaintiff in the foreclosure proceeding files proof of service.
Present at the conference will be:
- the plaintiff or a representative of the plaintiff who should have full authority to enter into a settlement; and
- a court official (i.e., a judge, a magistrate, a court attorney, a court referee, or a clerk).
Keep in mind that you must still file an Answer to the Summons and Complaint – a settlement conference is not provided in lieu of the court case.
In New York, what documents must you bring to a foreclosure settlement conference?
Having the right documents at the conference helps make the process go smoother and faster. Below are documents usually requested, but there could be other documents the court specifically requests. It's always best to confirm the documents you have with the requested documents listed in the notice.
Typical documents requested for a New York mandatory foreclosure settlement conference are listed below.
Plaintiff (e.g., the lender) Documents
- a history of all payments
- copy of the mortgage or note
- an itemization detailing the amount to pay off the loan and/or what's needed to cure the loan; details of loss mitigation options;
- descriptions of any other loss mitigation options
- application forms.
- pay stubs
- benefits information
- itemization of monthly expenses
- mortgage statement
- proof of any rental income
- property tax statements
- income tax returns (last two years preferably)
- loan term proposals
- information showing previously attempts to settle.
What's the purpose of the mandatory foreclosure settlement conference?
The purpose of this conference is evident: to help you prevent foreclosure. There are many settlement options that may be available to you, and these include:
- loan modifications
- short sale
- deed in lieu of foreclosure, or
- any other loss mitigation option.
All parties are supposed to negotiate in good faith, but many times the lender will try to make negotiations difficult by pulling stunts like not providing a representative with the full authority to settle or not bringing in all the necessary documentation. These types of stunts are committed to intimidate and exhaust the homeowner, but sometimes they work against the lender – the court could extend the conference to another date, giving the homeowner more time.
If a mortgage lender is foreclosing on your or you know it may in the near future, be proactive and contact and a trusted real estate attorney who has extensive experience defending against foreclosures, representing clients at these mandatory foreclosure settlement conferences, and negotiating the best deal for you.