Foreclosure Mediation Hearings in the State Of Maryland
How it works and what the benefits are:
The state of Maryland did all consumers a great service when they implemented the Foreclosure mediation hearing as part of the foreclosure process. Over the last few years borrowers have been complaining, and rightfully so, that the banks were unwilling to work with them on foreclosure mediation options. As a result of this, the state of Maryland implemented Foreclosure mediation hearings as a part of the foreclosure process. Many of the struggling borrowers in the state of Maryland, unfortunately, are totally unaware of this mediation hearing or what they should even do to request a hearing. Seeing as the request for a hearing is sent to you in the mail it is very important that you OPEN and READ all correspondence sent to you from your lender. Since this process is not really widely known, I am going to highlight the key points, explain some of the benefits, and then explain how you can request a hearing.
What are the benefits of having a mediation hearing?
1. Foreclosure mediation helps you establish a single point of contact: First off if you have been trying to get a loan modification and you have been hearing “we lost your package” or “you’re missing documents” even though you may have sent the same package in several times, this hearing will ensure that a single point of contact gets assigned directly to you. This does not mean that they will approve your modification, but at least this gives you someone who you can deal with directly. If you are working on a short sale, or want to pursue the short sale as your loss mitigation option, this also provides your realtor a point of contact to deal with directly at the bank, as well.
2. Mediation can help expedite whatever option you are seeking. It is no secret that part of the difficulty with getting loan modifications done, or a short sale approved, is because of a breakdown in communication when your file passes through so many hands. As mentioned above, through mediation a single point of contact will be established so that you do not have to talk to ten different people to get a straight answer, which in turn can cut down on the turnaround time.
3. The mediation can halt foreclosure proceedings to give time to try to work the loss mitigation option: In most cases, the hearing will establish a specific timeline the homeowner will have to meet a certain condition to apply for their mediation option. For example: If a consumer is applying for a loan modification the mediation department will grant the homeowner enough time to provide the loan modification to the assigned contact person from the lender, which will delay the foreclosure process. In most cases, the court will request that the bank delay foreclosure proceedings until all loss mitigation options are exhausted. The same is true for a short sale. Even if the property is not listed and it is concluded that a short sale is the best form of foreclosure prevention, the court will grant the seller enough time to procure a realtor and submit the package. While this is going on foreclosure proceedings will be suspended.
If you are interested in requesting a mediation hearing make sure you open all mail sent to you by your lender. Missing a date in the timeline could void your chances of getting a mediation hearing.
The following information is directly from the state’s website.
To request mediation, you must complete the Request for Mediation form sent to you by your lender. This form will arrive along with the servicer/lender’s Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit. You will also receive preprinted envelopes for returning your Request for Mediation form to the Clerk of the Circuit Court and the servicer/lender’s attorney.
If you receive the Request for Mediation form with a Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit at the Order to Docket stage, your form must be filed with the court within 15 days from the day of personal service of the foreclosure action.
If you receive the Request for Mediation form with a later Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit, the form must be filed with the court within 15 days of the postmark on the envelope containing the Request for Mediation form and the Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit.
You do not necessarily need legal counsel at the mediation, but it is encouraged. I have gone to several mediation hearings with my clients with no attorney present, just for support, and to give whatever information I could if asked. Clink the link below to go directly to the States FAQ page on Foreclosure Mediation.
Foreclosure mediation is a great resource for a struggling borrower, but you have to request it. Please do not ignore that you have this option, as it can certainly be used to your benefit.