Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011
On July 12, 2010, the 15th Circuit in and for Palm Beach County implemented a managed mediation program for all homesteaded residential foreclosures filed after July 12th. The following are some helpful tips to ensure you have access to the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program (RMFM) and to ensure once you are in the program that you make the most of this opportunity.By Noelle Smith of Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County
Once you have been served with the foreclosure complaint, do not wait for the Palm Beach County Bar Association to contact you to begin participation in the program. While the Bar will make every effort to contact a homeowner, their contact information is provided to them by the Plaintiff, your alleged bank/lender. Therefore, once you have been served, take step one in the process by calling Consolidated Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) to schedule your required housing counseling session. CCCS may be reached at (866) 900-4254.
As part of the Program, you are entitled to certain valuable disclosures from the Plaintiff, but in order to get these disclosures, you must complete Exhibit 6 and mail a copy to the Palm Beach County Bar Association. To download this form and obtain contact information for the RMFM program, click here.
Once you have completed your housing counseling session, CCCS will mail you a copy of Borrower's Foreclosure Mediation Financial Worksheet. You must sign the release on page three and send it to the Palm Beach County Bar Association.
Although you have completed your housing counseling session and filed your financial worksheet, this is not enough financial information for the lender to be able to make a determination on your loan at mediation. Therefore, you should contact Plaintiff's Counsel and ask that they send you all the forms that their client (your lender) requires to be completed to be considered for a loan modification and a list of what other documents they may need. For example, most lenders require at least the past two years of tax returns, signed 4506EZ or 4506-T, past two months of pay stubs or a profit-in-loss statement if self employed and the past two months of bank statements. All of these documents should be gathered and copies of each submitted to the Bar prior to your mediation date.
Attend mediation. You have made it this far so there is no reason to turn back now. Foreclosure mediations are very informal proceedings; they resemble more of a supervised phone call than a true mediation. This is your chance to speak directly with someone at your lender's office who has full settlement authority and can answer any and all questions you may have.
Take notes at mediation. If the bank makes you an offer, make sure you get the details, as it is rare that the actual agreement will be available the day of mediation. Also, get contact information for both the Plaintiff's attorney as well as the bank representative. This is crucial so that if problems do arise after the mediation, you have the ability to contact the people who were in the room and not a generic 800 number.
Follow-up. If you reach an agreement in principal, call the bank every few days until you receive the loan modification agreement.
Finally, once you have signed the loan modification and begun making payments, make sure the foreclosure action is dismissed.
For assistance with foreclosures, please contact Legal Aid Society's Foreclosure Defense Unit at (561) 655-8944 Ext. 325, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMPORTANT: The information on this Website is not intended as legal advice or representation. No attorney-client relationship is created between the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. and any person obtaining information from this website. Public benefits and other laws change frequently. We strive to keep this website up to date but cannot provide a guarantee that this information is accurate as of the time you are reading it.