Don’t put your head in the sand when you get sued for Foreclosure in New York.

Have you been sued for foreclosure in New York State, are you ignoring the certified mail or the papers taped to your door. Well, that’s not the best response to a foreclosure action, where they want to take your home away. Increasingly, as this mortgage foreclosure debacle ripens, courts, litigants, and attorneys are learning that foreclosure is not always the slam dunk, lock the door, win/win case that it might have been when there were fewer foreclosures. Stand up for yourself, ask an attorney about your rights, read the papers and and fight back if the facts warrant. See my prior New York State Real Estate Lawyer Blog Entry.

In past decades, bankers gave millions of mortgages to entice new homeowners to leverage their dreams, and then repackaged that leverage (loans) to sell to investors, taking their cut, nary a worry for the borrowers or the lenders. As a result of the frenzied repackaging of such loans, it turns out that many of these banks and lenders lost papers, misplaced paperwork, forged signatures, and inaccurately dated documents, creating a messy jumble of paperwork, and making it sometimes impossible to decide who owns the right to commence the foreclosure, which bank owns which mortgage. This is where you might have a chance.

As the wave of the foreclosure crisis deepens, courts are increasingly challenged because homeowners rarely show up to court to fight the process, rarely have the money to hire competent lawyers to sort out the problems. So, increasingly, judges end up examining the banks’ papers, and ruling on the affidavits before them.

Enter Judge M. Schack, 64, of New York City. Increasingly gaining respect for his no-nonsense approach to dealing with foreclosure motions, he has arguably become an exemplar of holding banks to the simple rule, “If you cannot prove ownership, you cannot foreclose.” Schack has tossed out 46 out of 102 foreclosure suits that have come before him in the past two years chastising banks for their sloppy and mistake ridden paperwork. Although a few protests from bank officials who assert Schack is unfairly acting as judge and jury are acknowledged, positive reactions from the legal community for his activism may prove to ring more loudly in the long run if more federal and state judges follow his example.

Bottom Line– Just because the bank says it wants your house, doesn’t mean it is entitled to it. You should hire competent New York legal assistance to sort out the complex and tangled web of ownership. For more on Judge Schack, read here.