Handling a Foreclosure Isn’t Like Riding a Bike . . . or Is It?

Today’s post is a guest post from Attorney Bruce Stanger of Stanger & Associates of West Hartford, CT

il_570xN.603520998_1xub“It’s just like riding a bike.”  That saying has always been a little problematic.  It makes it sound like bike riding is incredibly easy and that anyone can just hop on a bike, pedal furiously and they’ll be gliding down the street like Greg LeMond.  This figure of speech doesn’t factor all the hours of wobbling, tree colliding and knee scraping that goes into the bike-riding process.

There is a similar learning curve for attorneys who handle foreclosures.  A foreclosure attorney who still has their training wheels on might also be wearing something else down the road: A legal malpractice lawsuit.

The Foreclosure Process

Foreclosure proceedings require knowledge of important deadlines, various options for filings and motions, and even the personalities that might be involved.  If you or someone you know is involved in a foreclosure they should look for an attorney well versed in this area of law.

Contesting a mortgage foreclosure can be complicated.  The mortgage lender will try to prove that the borrower violated the terms of the agreement.  This proof may be in the form of missed payments, though not always.  While this may sound simple, there is an incredible amount of paperwork and proceedings that are involved to prove that a violation either does or does not exist.

Why Hire a Reputable Attorney?

Some attorneys may choose to take on a foreclosure case even if it’s something in which they are unfamiliar.  This is an unfortunate situation, but it does happen.  In the end, there is usually an undesirable outcome.  The case may take longer, the results may financially impact the client or end up being one in which the attorney accrues minimal profit.  There is also a risk that the inexperienced attorney will make a mistake.  If a mistake is made, it can be painfully final for their client and the outcome of their case.

Here are a few examples of mistakes that can happen:

  • In some situations, if there is equity in the home, a lawyer for the mortgagor (homeowner) can describe this value to the judge, requesting that the property be sold versus returned to the mortgage lender. This allows the client to retrieve their equity.  If the motion isn’t made, the property may be turned over to the bank, losing any equity the client held in the property.
  • In some situations, there is an opportunity for the owner to pay the amount that is owed to the lender, giving the client the chance to keep the property. However, documents need to be filed within a certain time frame in order to ensure this opportunity is maintained.  Failure to file the proper papers within the allotted time will cost the client this opportunity.
  • The court needs to be properly informed about any other persons who may have rights to the property. This could be a spouse or an investor.  Failing to disclose this information can also scuttle a case against a client’s interests.
  • The attorney who mishandled the foreclosure proceedings may now be suing their client for fees.

Any of these examples can lead to further financial strains or the loss of a home to a client.  They are also good examples of why foreclosure attorneys get sued for legal malpractice.  A legal malpractice lawsuit holds attorneys accountable. It is an area in which our firm has decades of experience.  We help clients who are in financial trouble because of a foreclosure case that was handled incorrectly.  In short, we sue attorneys who have botched the foreclosure process.

If you or someone you know has worked with an attorney on their foreclosure that turned out poorly, are being sued by their attorney or they think the attorney made serious errors, have them contact us.  If you are in financial trouble and are facing a foreclosure, then definitely contact Attorney Sarah Poriss who has substantial experience representing homeowners.

When considering how to handle a foreclosure defense, a property owner has several options when deciding how to proceed.  The best option is working with an attorney that is experienced in this issue.  If our bike riding metaphor were to apply, the owner should look for someone who has been riding a bike for a long time, for many miles over a well-known course.  Otherwise, they run the risk of getting lost along the way.

Bruce Stanger is a managing member at Stanger & Associates of West Hartford, CT.  He has decades of experience  helping people with their legal malpractice issues.  You can contact Bruce at bstanger@stangerlaw.com or by visiting stangerlaw.com.