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Foreclosure: Important Information

Saving DC Homes from Foreclosure Emergency Amendment Act of 2010

DC homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages have the legal option to meet with their mortgage servicers to explore options other than foreclosure and try to resolve their mortgage payment issues.

The “Saving DC Homes from Foreclosure Emergency Amendment Act of 2010” requires lenders to offer this “mediation” service to distressed homeowners before any foreclosure action can take place.

The Foreclosure Mediation Program for DC took effect on May 25, 2011. For more information, please contact the Foreclosure Mediation Administrator in the Department of  Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) at (202) 442-7848 or disb.mediation@dc.gov. Extensive information is available on the Foreclosure Mediation Program (FMP) website. In addition, please view the bulletin provided by DISB.

Homeowners who are having difficulties making their mortgage payments should contact an approved housing counseling organization to receive FREE assistance in resolving—or “mitigating”—their mortgage problems through renegotiation or modification of the mortgage terms, refinancing, or other alternatives to foreclosure. The Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) provides a list of nonprofit housing counselors in DC that can assist homeowners.

Homeowners who are facing foreclosure can find useful information in DISB’s Foreclosure Mitigation Kit.

Some companies will tell a homeowner that, for a fee, they will negotiate with the lender to obtain a loan modification or other relief from foreclosure. A recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule prohibits “mortgage foreclosure rescue” organizations from collecting a fee until the homeowner receives an acceptable written offer from the lender. For more information, please go to the FTC fact sheet.

Homeowners who have received notices of foreclosure, or whose homes have already been foreclosed, should consult a lawyer, who can help determine whether the homeowner may have grounds for contesting or even overturning a foreclosure. (List of Legal Resources)

Information about how DC’s consumer protection law applies to foreclosures is available from the Attorney General’s website. (AG’s enforcement statement, Q&As, completed foreclosures)

Homeowners or attorneys representing homeowners who believe that a company is starting foreclosures without the legal right to do so should contact the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (202) 442-9828.