I’m behind in my mortgage payments…
If you have a mortgage on your home
and you are behind in your payments,
pay close attention to any letters you
receive. Your rights may depend on the
type of mortgage you have. Be sure to
keep copies of all letters and notices —
do not throw them out! Do not ignore letters from the
Mortgage company. Call them immediately to see if
you can work out an agreement to save your property.
If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you
may contact the Florida Attorney General at (866) 966-
7226. If you have a:
Write a letter to the mortgage company requesting to
pay the back payments over time. The mortgage company
may accept your offer.
Veterans Administration Loan
Contact the V.A. as soon as you are behind in your
mortgage. They may be able to help you with your
Farmers Home Mortgage
You may get a letter saying you are behind in your payments.
Call the Farmers Home office and ask for help
with your mortgage. They may be able to give you interest
credit, delay your payments, or provide some
other help. If you are turned down, you can ask for an
I’ve been served court papers for foreclosure.,
If the bank or mortgage company has started a foreclosure
suit against you, you will be served court papers
by the sheriff or a process server. You will probably
receive a summons, a complaint, and an order to
show cause. These papers come with a deadline: You
must respond within 20 days.
As soon as you receive court papers, read them. Talk
with an attorney to get advice.
Call Us To File Your Answer
On plain paper, type (or print clearly) the information
at the top of the complaint, including the court name,
names of the parties, and the case number, then print
or type “Answer of Defendant.”
Use numbered paragraphs to point out anything you
believe is untrue or wrong in the court papers you received.
You should also write down the reasons why there
should be no foreclosure. These reasons are called
The mortgage company may have accepted late payments
from you for several months, did not send you a
new written notice that payments are due on time, but
then filed a foreclosure when you were late again.
Perhaps a home improvement company placed a mortgage
on your house to pay for its services. A defense
may be that the work was not done properly. The judge
may still rule that you owe the mortgage, but it may be
less than the mortgage company is asking.
Other defenses are possible. Any reason that would
make it unfair for the mortgage company to take over
your home should be written down as a defense.
Sign the answer. Write that you are mailing a copy to
the lawyer for the bank or mortgage company, including
the date you mail the copy. Then, mail a copy of the
answer to the lawyer for the bank or mortgage company.
Take the original answer to the Court Clerk and
file it. There is no charge for this. Keep a copy of your
answer for your records.
You may receive a Motion for Summary Judgment. This
will tell the date and time that a judge will decide
whether to foreclose on the house. The rules require
that you present an affidavit stating the reasons why the
foreclosure should be denied. You must serve the affidavit
on the Mortgage company’s attorney 5 days before
the hearing. You can go to that Motion for Summary
judgment hearing and tell the judge why there
should be no foreclosure.
If the judge decides that the house should be for
closed, he/she will set a day and time for the sale. That
day will be at least 20 days after the hearing, but
probably not more than 35 days later. If you need
more time than that, tell the judge. It will be up to the
judge to decide if you get more time.
At the sale, someone will purchase the house. The
new owner cannot take possession of the house until
the Clerk of the Court issues the title, usually 10 days
after the sale. If you have not moved, the new owner
is entitled to move in, and you will be served a “Writ
of Possession” by the sheriff. The Writ of Possession
will give you 24 hours to move.
If you do not file an answer or if you do not
show up at the “Motion for Summary Judgment”
hearing, a default can be entered against
you. This is like automatically losing your case.
The next piece of paper you could receive
would be the notice to leave your house.
Once the foreclosure action is filed, you will
start to receive mailings from individuals who
will offer you ways to “save” your home. Do
not sign anything until you have the opportunity
to have an attorney review the documents,
since you may be signing your ownership rights
and receive nothing for your home!
Are there any other options?
You may wish to sell your home. You have the right to
do so until the foreclosure sale. This may be the best
way for you to get back the equity you have in the
home. If you want to do this, contact a realtor.
You may want to consider bankruptcy. In some situations
where the household has a steady source of
income, bankruptcy can help you save your home.
Talk to an attorney who handles bankruptcy matters
You have the right to “redeem” your home until the
sale of the house. To redeem your home, you must
pay all amounts owed on the mortgage, plus attorney
fees, and the court costs that went with the foreclosure.
If you do this, you can stop the foreclosure sale.
You may also want to consider deeding the house
back to the bank or mortgage company. Contact the
attorney representing the mortgage company to discuss