Responding to a Complaint Before Your Mortgage Company Forecloses
You’ve been served a “complaint for foreclosure” or “petition for foreclosure,” along with a summons. What do you do? What do you need to know? In a previous blog, we defined some key terms in the foreclosure process.
First off, it is good to know that Florida, in the case of foreclosure legal proceedings, is a judiciary state. Which means that the case must be seen in court, as opposed to a non-judiciary case, which can happen out of court. This can help you in defending yourself, but timing is everything in a foreclosure complaint.
Timing in a Foreclosure Complaint
It is critical that you know your rights and that you act soon, or you may waive some very powerful defenses in your case. You get 20 days to respond with an “answer.” Your answer is your response to the complaint, in which you either admit, deny, or call for more information. If you do not respond to the complaint with your answer, you risk your case falling under a default judgment. A default judgment is basically an automatic loss on your end. The court will side with the lender and you won’t have any say in the matter.
For this and many other reasons it’s crucial that you act within that 20 day period. It is very difficult to get a court to annul a default judgement. Act quickly to save yourself from an automatic loss.
When filing your answer, you have the opportunity to get things clarified, raise a defense or file a counterclaim. But, perhaps most importantly, you are buying time to find an attorney and prepare yourself for a solid defense that could potentially turn the tide on your foreclosure, or at the very least, mitigate any irreparable damage to your credit.
Defense Against a Foreclosure Complaint
There are many steps a lender must take before it gets to the final stage of foreclosure. For this reason, one of your best defenses can be to examine whether the lender followed all requirements per state law. Any other error on the lender’s part could work out in your favor. And there are many places where an error can be made. With a defense of this type, it’s best to hire an experienced lawyer, rather than trying to fight on your own. At Jacobs Legal we are dedicated to help you get the defense you deserve, even (especially) against the Goliath-type lenders.
Counterclaim Against a Foreclosure Complaint
A counterclaim or countersuit can be filed if you feel that the lender has violated your rights in any way. If they have acted unlawfully under Florida law or harassed you in trying to reclaim your debt, then you can potentially file against the lender. This measure may or may not change the ultimate outcome of the foreclosure, but it can work well in your defense and win you additional compensation to fight the good fight.
Here at Jacobs Legal, we want you to know that you don’t have to feel alone. You don’t have to feel hopeless. There are many ways to help you and we have years of experience as our guide. Let us take care of you.