Foreclosure

I received a notice of foreclosure. What should I do?

A notice of foreclosure will typically give you 30 days to “cure,” or catch up on, the amount you owe. The Notice will include how to apply for “Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Payments” (HEMAP) through a list of housing counselors approved by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.  If within 30 days you either catch up on the amount owed or file a HEMAP application (if eligible), no foreclosure action can be filed against you.  The mortgage company cannot try to foreclose on your home while you have a pending HEMAP application, so long as you meet with an approved housing counseling agency within 30 days of the date of the Notice.

I have been sued to foreclose upon my house. What should I do?

The mortgage company can file a Complaint against you for a default on the mortgage if (1) you do not “cure,” or catch up on, the amount owed; (2) you do not meet with a housing counselor within 30 days of the Notice of Foreclosure; or (3) the state denies your HEMAP application. You will then have 20 days from the date you are served with the Complaint to file a response. You must file an “Answer” or another permitted response with the Prothonotary at your courthouse and mail a copy of your response to the attorney for the mortgage company.

If you do not file a response, you will be sent a Notice of Default that a judgment will be entered against you, without further notice, if you do not file a response to the complaint within 10 days.

I received notice of a Sheriff’s (or tax) sale. What should I do?

If you do not respond to the Complaint, the mortgage company can enter a judgment of default against you and schedule a Sheriff’s sale of your home. The length of time between the default judgment and the date of the Sheriff’s sale varies from county to county and can be anywhere from two to five months. To avoid the sale, you must either “cure,” or catch up on, the amount owed or reach an agreement with the mortgage company to make payments toward eliminating the amount you owe.

Are there programs to help me if I am at risk of foreclosure?

Yes.  Each county has a community action agency that can provide a variety of housing assistance, from HEMAP applications to counseling and, where needed, housing transition support.  The community action agencies serving our region are: Blueprints, for Washington and Greene Counties (www.myblueprints.org); Fayette County Community Action (www.fccaa.org) and the Community Action Partnership of Somerset County (www.capfsc.org).

How can legal aid help?

So long as you are financially eligible, we can apply for HEMAP for you or direct you to an agency who can.  We can also file an Answer or other appropriate response to the Complaint and get a “stay,” or delay, to the foreclosure action while attempting to negotiate settlement.  If there is no settlement, we can defend against the foreclosure action on your behalf.

What is my county court process?

Prior to a Complaint in Foreclosure being filed, you will receive an Act 91 Notice.  You should contact us upon receiving such notice and before you receive the Complaint.  If you do not, you should contact us upon receiving the Complaint.

Fayette County: Mortgage foreclosure complaints, and all responses, are filed with the Prothonotary at the courthouse.  Fayette County has a mortgage foreclosure diversionary program, allowing for a 90 day stay, or delay, of the foreclosure action while you attempt to settle with the lender and avoid further court action.
For local rules, go to www.co.fayette.pa.us.

Greene County: Mortgage foreclosure complaints, and all responses, are filed with the Prothonotary at the courthouse.  Greene County does not have a mortgage foreclosure diversionary program; however, we can help you attempt to settle with the lender to try to avoid further court action.
For local rules, go to www.co.greene.pa.us.

Somerset County: Mortgage foreclosure complaints, and all responses, are filed with the Prothonotary at the courthouse.  Somerset County has a mortgage foreclosure diversionary program, allowing for a 60 day stay, or delay, of the foreclosure action while you attempt to settle with the lender and avoid further court action.
For local rules, go to www.co.somerset.pa.us.

Washington County: Mortgage foreclosure complaints, and all responses, are filed with the Prothonotary at the courthouse.  Washington County has a mortgage foreclosure diversionary program, allowing for a 90 day stay, or delay, of the foreclosure action while you attempt to settle with the lender and avoid further court action.
For local rules, go to www.washingtoncourts.us.