Foreclosures

Resource Guide

Despite federal efforts to provide leadership and funding at the national level, in many ways the foreclosure crisis continues to be a state specific issue, with foreclosure proceedings being addressed in accordance with state laws set forth by the state’s legislative authority. While states have varied significantly in their approach to the foreclosure crisis, common approaches include the creation of foreclosure specific pro-bono projects, one-stop resource centers, diversion programs, and foreclosure task forces.

Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.


Featured Links

Glink, Ilyce Foreclosure Rates Impact Courts. (2012). CBS News.

U.S. foreclosure activity has now decreased on a year-over-year basis for 20 straight months including May, but the jump in May foreclosure starts shows it's going to be a bumpy ride down to the bottom of this foreclosure cycle.

Nabanita Pal and the Brennan Center for Justice Facing Foreclosure Alone: The Continuing Crisis in Legal Representation. (2011).

This paper looks at how four years into the economic downturn, massive numbers of families continue to face the prospect of losing their homes through foreclosure.  While for some, it may be inevitable, for others, it can be avoided if they have the right help. This paper discusses how many borrowers have legitimate legal defenses to foreclosure that can only be raised with skilled legal advice and assistance.

In the News

Hopkins, Jamie Smith Md. Lawyers Volunteer to Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure. (January 2010). The Baltimore Sun Maryland's Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project has nearly 1,000 lawyers ready to provide free legal assistance to individuals in danger of losing their properties to foreclosure.    
Court Figures Show Florida Foreclosures Increasing. (February 2010). Florida AP With new foreclosure filings reaching near 400,000 in 2009, Florida's foreclosure caseload approaches 800,000. 
Robertson, Gary D. NC Foreclosure Filings Up by 17 Percent in 2009. (January 2010). The Associated Press The increase in North Carolina's foreclosure caseload has risen 17%, double the rate for 2008.
Ruger, Todd. Florida Supreme Court Tightening Foreclosure Rules. (June 2010). HeraldTribune.com A Florida Supreme Court rule requires attorneys for banks and lenders to verify under penalty of perjury the accuracy of allegations and paperwork in foreclosure cases.
Morgenson, Gretchen and Geraldine Fabrikant. "Florida's High-Speed Answer to a Foreclosure Mess". (September 2010). The New York Times Florida earmarked $9.6 million to set up foreclosures-only courts across the state, staffed by retired judges. The goal of the program, which began in July, is to reduce the foreclosures backlog by 62 percent within a year.
Thorner, James. Florida Bankers Move to Dramatically Speed Up the Foreclosure Process. (January 2010). St. Petersburg Times The Florida Bankers' Association has presented a state bill to legislators that would establish a "non-judicial" foreclosure process. 
Shanklin, Mary. Foreclosures Clog Courts in Orange, Will Go Online. (February 2010). Orlando Sentinel Orange County, Florida will begin online foreclosure auctions, joining Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.
Roznik, Sharon Foreclosures Soar in FdL County. (January 2010). FDLReporter.com Foreclosures filings are up for 2009 in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin for the fourteenth consecutive year, according to the FDL Reporter.
Miami-Dade County Selling Foreclosures Online. (January 2010). The Associated Press, The New York Times Miami-Dade County in Florida is one of twelve Florida counties that auction foreclosure properties online. 
New Foreclosure Case Filings Hit Record in Ohio. (February 2010). The Associated Press For 2009, Ohio reports a record number of foreclosure filings, with three-fourths of Ohio's 88 counties reporting an increase in filings.
Remondini, David J. Supreme Court Opens Three Front Operation on Mortgage Foreclosures. (March 2009). Indiana Courttimes, Issue 18.1

This article describes the Indiana Supreme Court's three-pronged approach to address increased mortgage foreclosures; 1) education for trial judges, 2) training and recruitment of volunteer attorneys, and 3) training and recruitment of attorney-mediators.

Fighting Foreclosure. (November 2009). The Baltimore Sun This editorial discusses legislative reforms put forth by Maryland's Governor O'Malley, including mandatory mediation and additional funding for legal resources.
Miller, Susan R. Fla. Supreme Court Requires Mediation in Foreclosures. (December 2009). Orlando Business Journal Chief Justice Peggy Quince has signed an order adopting recommendations for foreclosure mediation put forth by the Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases. 
Schlett, James. Foreclosure Rate Jumps in Region. (January 2009). Daily Gazette New York's Capital Region saw a 152 percent jump in foreclosure filings over the 2007 figure, nearly double the national rate of increase in foreclosure activity.  The article discusses the impact of an August, 2008 law that requires borrowers be sent pre-foreclosure notices 90 days prior to issuing default notices. 
Rohrer, Gray. Foreclosure Rate Remains High, But Falling. (August 2009). Cape Coral Daily Breeze This article provides recent statistics for Florida's foreclosure crisis.
Andreassi, George Foreclosures Cramp Courts. (February 2009). TCPalm Court officials on Florida's Treasure Coast are pursuing a proposal to require mediation in foreclosure cases to help address increasing foreclosure filings. The article also discusses trends in mortgage foreclosures in several counties, from 2005 through January, 2009.
Poston, Ben and Cary Spivak. Foreclosures Rise 77% in Milwaukee County. (January 2009). Journal Sentinel This article discusses foreclosure filings by county.  The number of reported foreclosed properties in Milwaukee County jumped 77% last year, the third consecutive year of double-digit increases, while Waukesha County rose 73%, and Washington County 72%. Ozaukee County, which boasts the state's highest median household income, recorded a 47% increase.
Cobiella, Kelly and Michelle Miller. Glut of Foreclosures Clogs Courts. (February 2009). CBS Evening News This article compares foreclosure case proceedings in Lee County Florida and Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Hatcher, Monica Mediation Urged Before Foreclosure. (August 2009). MiamiHerald.com This article discusses a newly released report from the Florida Supreme Court which recommends mandatory mediation before permitting a case to proceed to foreclosure.
Spoto, MaryAnn New Program Aids N.J. Homeowners Facing Foreclosure. (January 2009). The Star-Ledger This article discusses a new program for homeowners facing foreclosure sponsored by the state of New Jersey.  Program components include counseling, mediation, and free legal representation in certain circumstances. 
Fleisher, Lisa. N.J. Foreclosure Filings Up 43 Percent in July. (September 2009). The Star-Ledger This article indicates that foreclosure filings are falling, although still about 43% higher than last year's filing rates. The article also shares statistics for the state's 21 counties. 
Fleisher, Lisa. N.J. Foreclosures Rise 31 Percent During First Half of Year. (August 2009). The Star-Ledger This article reviews New Jersey's foreclosure experience for the first half of 2009 and provides recent statistics.
Thompson, Tiffany. North Carolina Works to Fight Foreclosure. (January 2009). The Stanly News and Press North Carolina has enacted the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project, requiring mortgage loan servicers to give a homeowner with a subprime loan notice of a pending foreclosure 45 days prior to the filing of a notice of hearing in a foreclosure proceeding.  The subprime loan must have originated between Jan. 1, 2005 and Dec. 31, 2007.  The program includes $14 million in funding initiatives to provide assistance to families facing foreclosure.
Mattimoe, Tara. Officials Seek to Ease the Pain of Foreclosure Proceedings. (April 2009). Pekin Daily Times Tazewell County, Illinois has adopted a new policy to help ease the burden of foreclosures on homeowners.  Under the new policy, defendants may seek a waiver or deferral of filing fees if they meet the income/asset guidelines, will be helped to provide copies of filings to necessary parties, and may seek continuance of pending foreclosure proceedings if they demonstrate that they have made timely effort to contact the plaintiff and/or counsel.
Limpf, Larry. Ottawa County Sees Foreclosure Rate Increase. (March 2009). The Press This article discusses the findings of a foreclosure study examining foreclosure filings in several Ohio counties.
Stutz, Terrence. Proposed Constitutional Amendment Would Prohibit HOA Foreclosures. (February 2009). The Dallas Morning News Homeowners associations in Texas would lose their power to foreclose on individual homeowners for nonpayment of dues and other fees under a proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution.
States Are Pondering Fraud Suits Against Banks. (November 2009). The New York Times This article discusses the possibility of states attorneys general suing mortgage companies for consumer fraud as a result of the mortgage foreclosure crisis, bolstered by a recent Supreme Court ruling. 
Ruger, Todd. Uncontested Foreclosures on the Fast Track. (May 2009). Sarasota Herald-Tribune The 12th Circuit Court in Florida has created a new foreclosure court, dubbed the "rocket docket" for its streamlined proceedings.
Mitchell, Tia. Will Jacksonville Be Nation`s Foreclosure Capital in 2009?. (January 2009). Jacksonville.com In 2008, the Jacksonville Clerk of Court's office began handling 1.000 foreclosure filings a month.  The city was ranked No. 1 by Forbes magazine on its Foreclosure Capitals list and is taking steps that began with a Foreclosure Summit to address the increase in foreclosures.
Wartenberg, Steve. Foreclosure Rate Takes a Dip. (February 2009). The Columbus Dispatch This article discusses a slight decrease in the number of mortgage foreclosure filings in Ohio, and filings trends from 2006 through 2008.
Robertson, Kathy. State Bar, Nonprofit Launch Foreclosure Web Site. (October 2008). Sacramento Business Journal The State Bar of California, partnering with the Public Interest Clearinghouse, has created a Web site (ForeclosureInfoCA.org) for consumers that offers mortgage foreclosure information.  The site addresses concerns of both homeowners and renters, and provides links to various agency Web sites on California’s foreclosure process and timelines, counseling for worried homeowners, options for homeowners who can’t meet their payments, and legal resources and information on tenants’ rights when a landlord is facing disclosure.
Dolan, Kathryn. Recession Hits Home: The Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis and Our Indiana Courts. (December 2008). Indiana Courttimes, Col. 17, No. 6

This article discusses efforts by judges to identify new approaches to a growing national problem, including localized approaches and efforts by the Indianapolis Bar Association Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force.

Rujumba, Karamagi. Officials Warn of Coming Rise in Foreclosures. (October 2008). Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Allegheny county officials have made plans to implement a conciliation program in Common Pleas Court to help homeowners affected by the foreclosure crisis negotiate with lenders to keep their homes. The Home Mortgage Foreclosure Program will create a 90-day stay -- in essence a suspension of court foreclosure proceedings -- to give homeowners time to consult with lawyers and credit and debt counselors in an effort to stave off the certainty of foreclosure.
Monahan, Rachel. Nonprofit `Common Law` Trains Homeowners to Be Their Own Lawyers. (September 2008). Daily News As a result of New York City's growing foreclosure crisis, and the outstripping of available pro bono and government-subsidized lawyers, Common Law, a nonprofit organization is training about 50 homeowners facing foreclosure  to be their own lawyers. Since April, legal clinics for homeowners have been offered every Tuesday night.
Prevost, Lisa. How Talks Can Avert Defaults. (October 2008). The New York Times Court-based programs in Connecticut, New York and Ohio bring lenders and homeowners together to mediate foreclosure actions.
Treadway, Tyler. Foreclosure Storm Forces Court to Extend Hours in St. Lucie County. (March 2008). TCPALM The St. Lucie County Circuit Court added a night shift to handle increased home foreclosure filings in the civil division. 
Sayre, Mark. Financial Cases Straining Courts. (November 2008). Las Vegas Now With the economic downturn, the Las Vegas Justice Court is seeing a substantial increase in foreclosures, evictions and collections suits.  This article provides some detail about the general process for these claims within the Justice Court.
Feehan, Jennifer. Financial Cases Spur Jump in Wood County Docket. (October 2008). Toledo Blade The Wood County Clerk of Courts' office hit a milestone last year, logging slightly more than 1,000 civil complaints - half of which were foreclosures.
Eligon, John. Court Offers Homeowners Help Avoiding Foreclosure. (June 2008). The New York Times Homeowners in New York who face foreclosures would benefit under a new court program that calls for the creation of a new section of the court charged with helping borrowers and lenders reach speedy settlements.
Wiggins, Ovetta. Foreclosure Task Force Proposes Remedies. (November 2007). Washington Post Maryland's Homeownership Preservation Task Force will reportedly seek stricter oversight of mortgage lenders, an extended foreclosure process and tougher laws against fraud.

General

Clark, Melanca and Daniel Olmos Emerging Strategies In Foreclosure Mediation. (2011). This article describes several foreclosure mediation program features that appear to have a positive impact on effectiveness and offers those features for consideration by jurisdictions that are seeking to develop or expand programs. The article also includes a list of existing foreclosure mediation programs throughout the nation that are interested in sharing their experiences with mediation program stakeholders in other jurisdictions.
Rao, John and Geoff Walsh. Foreclosing a Dream: State Laws Deprive Homeowners of Basic Protections. (February 2009). National Consumer Law Center, Inc. This report takes a look at the laws in each of the fifty states pertaining to foreclosures and identifies recommendations to modify these laws in light of the foreclosure crisis.  The report also includes an appendix that conducts a detailed analysis of each state's foreclosure law and an appendix that discusses mortgage foreclosure mediation programs.  
Report of the Judicial Branch Commission on Foreclosure Diversion. (June 2009). Maine Judicial Branch Commission on Foreclosure Diversion This report details recommendations for use of mediation as a diversion method in Maine prior to foreclosure proceedings, as well as a requirement for notice of free or low-cost legal assistance, credit counseling and other services. 
The Economic Impacts of Delays in Civil Trials in Florida`s Courts Due to Under-Funding of Court System. (January 2009). The Washington Economics Group, Inc. This Interim Report, prepared for the Florida Bar, demonstrates the dramatic impact that mortgage foreclosure filings have had over the past two years on the Florida court system.
Clark, Melanca and Maggie Barron. Foreclosures: A Crisis in Legal Representation. (2009). Brennan Center for Justice This report by the Brennan Center for Justice looks at the impact of the mortgage foreclosure crisis on families, identifies ways in which legal assistance protects families while in foreclosure, discusses impediments to providing legal representation in foreclosure, and concludes with recommendations. 
Walsh, Geoffry. State and Local Foreclosure Mediation Programs: Can They Save Homes?. (September 2009). National Consumer Law Center. This article discusses issues and concerns with the way current state and local foreclosure mediation programs operate and suggests changes to make them better.
White, Alan M. The Foreclosure Crisis in Indiana and the U.S. (April 2008). Valparaiso University School of Law This presentation provides information about the state of the foreclosure crisis in Indiana, including applicable state statutes.   
Total Foreclosure Filings, Rates and Filing Fees for U.S. States. (October 2008). National Center for State Courts This chart indicates the total foreclosure filings for 2007, the foreclosure rate, and filing fees for foreclosures in the states.
Defaulting on the Dream: States Respond to America`s Foreclosure Crisis. (April 2008). The PEW Charitable Trusts This report provides a comprehensive look at the policy responses that states have taken to tackle the critical issue of mortgage foreclosures.  The report showcases approaches in two principal areas:  helping borrowers avoid foreclosure and preventing problematic loans from being made.    
Foreclosures. (December 2008). Law Library, Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County

This resource provides valuable bibliographic information about foreclosure books, forms and articles, both generally and more specifically applicable to Arizona.

Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer. Ohio Offers Comprehensive Response to Foreclosure Problem. (September 2008). National Center for State Courts, Future Trends in State Courts 2008.

Courts across many states are grappling with an explosion of foreclosure cses, and Ohio is no different.  Ohio's courts and legal system play a major role in a statewide effort aimed at helping Ohioans remain in their homes.

Bouffard, Andre D. Heavy Traffic at the Intersection of Mortgage Foreclosure and Bankruptcy Law. (Spring 2006). The Vermont Bar Journal This article explores the legal issues that arise when a claim overlaps both mortgage foreclosure and bankruptcy causes of action.
Wood, Lawrence. Illinois Eviction Court Benchbook. (February 2001). Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago This Benchbook guide provides guidance on the following topics dealing with landlord/tenant relations: the propriety of granting a landlord's motion for use and occupancy; whether a tenant can cure a criminal lease violation; or the circumstances under which an agreed order may be vacated.

Task Forces and Committees

Florida - Final Report and Recommendations on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases. (August 2009). Florida Supreme Court, Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases The task force addresses a variety of aspects of mortgage foreclosure case processing, including attorney involvement, consumer education, pro bono efforts, and the existing judicial foreclosure processes.  Recommendations for improvement include case management considerations, rule proposals, and best practices forms.
Skinner, Raymond A. and Thomas E. Perez. Homeownership Preservation Task Force Final Report. (November 2007). Maryland's Task Force includes several workgroups focusing on specific issues involving foreclosures, including financial resources, education and outreach, and legal and regulatory reform work groups.  This report provides information about the workgroups as well as task force recommendations.
Strickland, Ted and Kimberly A. Zurz. Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force: Final Report. (September 2007). This report describes the Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force and sets forth recommendations to tackle residential mortgage foreclosures.
Connecticut - Bench-Bar Foreclosure Committee. State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Connecticut has created a Bench-Bar committee dedicated to foreclosure.  The committee's website include meeting notices, agendas, minutes and proposed standing orders.
Texas - Task Force on Judicial Foreclosure Rules. The Supreme Court of Texas The Texas Supreme Court has issued an Order Creating Task Force on Judicial Foreclosure Rules to examine Rules 735 and 736 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, rules intended to address judicial foreclosure of home equity loans and reverse mortgage loans.  The Task Force website includes links to Task Force meetings and forms.