Foreclosure Mediation

Civil Justice provides critical legal services to Maryland homeowners facing foreclosure through its Foreclosure Mediation Program. Since the summer of 2010, shortly after Maryland revised its laws to allow for mediations for homeowners facing foreclosure, the program has assisted hundreds of homeowners who do not qualify for pro bono (free) representation in foreclosure mediations, but cannot afford an attorney for representation at foreclosure mediation.

What is Foreclosure Mediation?
Mediation is your opportunity to meet with a representative from your lender to discuss options to prevent a foreclosure sale of your home. The mediation session is not a formal court proceeding. It is a meeting between you and your lender, and takes place around a table. The mediation is conducted by an Administrative Law Judge who is a neutral third‐party. An attorney for your lender will be at the mediation, and your lender will call‐in by telephone.

Why is Foreclosure Mediation Helpful?
Attending a foreclosure mediation will help to ensure that you explore all available options to prevent foreclosure. You may be able to negotiate a loan modification, forbearance, reinstatement, short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure, or other nonforeclosure resolutions. The foreclosure sale is put on hold until at least 15 days after the mediation takes place.

Foreclosure is often not in the bank’s best interest, and foreclosure mediation offers a last, best chance to discuss ways that you can either stay in your house or work out a mutually beneficial way for you to exit. For example, it is possible in both deed in lieu of foreclosure situations and post-foreclosure situations for the bank to pay the borrower several thousands of dollars (a “cash-for-keys” agreement) to voluntarily leave the property in good condition by a set date.  Having an attorney help advise you can assist you in presenting information and proposals to the bank and in evaluating any proposals you receive.  


How do I Request Foreclosure Mediation?
After your foreclosure case is filed, you have 25 days from the date of the Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit  to submit your mediation request form to the court. You must pay a $50 filing fee to the court for mediation or request a waiver of the fee. Once mediation has been requested, the Office of Administrative Hearings will send a letter to you stating the time, date, and place of the mediation. The mediation must take place no later than 60 days after you file the mediation request. For more information about the foreclosure timeline, please watch our Foreclosure Timeline video here. 

Why Should I Consider Hiring an Attorney to Represent Me?
Foreclosure is a legal process and the banks will have their lawyers at the mediation; to help your advocate for your rights, you will benefit from a lawyer on your side who is knowledgeable about state and federal mortgage servicing and consumer protection laws.

Who is Eligible?
Maryland homeowners who have a foreclosure action on their primary residence and whose income does not exceed a certain amount are eligible for Civil Justice's program.  For a flat fee of $500, homeowners will retain the services of a Maryland attorney to represent their interests at the foreclosure mediation.  Foreclosure mediations bring together the homeowner and the mortgage lender’s representative and allow them to negotiate potential modifications or other alternatives before an impartial administrative judge in an attempt to reach an agreement.  Civil Justice’s Foreclosure Mediation Program is the only "reduced fee" or "low bono" legal services program supported by the State of Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development.  The program fills a critical need for legal services for low to moderate income Marylanders, who may otherwise be forced to navigate the often complicated and confusing foreclosure process without the benefit of experienced legal counsel.

Civil Justice: A Leader in Maryland Foreclosure Mediations 
Civil Justice Network attorneys have represented over 200 homeowners at foreclosure mediations. These mediations provide an opportunity for homeowners to communicate directly with their lenders about alternatives to foreclosure with the assistance of a neutral third-party mediator.   If you are a homeowner needing assistance with a foreclosure and are interested in Civil Justice’s Foreclosure Mediation Program, please complete an Intake Form, and a Civil Justice staff member will contact you.  You may also contact us at 410-706-5649, or email us at cj@civiljusticenetwork.org.

For more information about your foreclosure rights, please watch our videos on the foreclosure process for Maryland at the Foreclosure Cafe Consumer Resources Page or read our Foreclosure FAQ webpage. You can also find information about foreclosure at Maryland Department of Housing and Community Developement's website.

 

Civil Justice Mediation Success Stories


Father Keeps Home and Son Enrolled in School

Civil Justice was contacted by Mr. Jones*, a Maryland homeowner who was behind in his mortgage payments, with arrears adding up. He had no knowledge of foreclosure laws in Maryland prior to contacting Civil Justice. Mr. Jones was connected with a Civil Justice Network attorney. The attorney helped him determine what documents needed to be submitted for the foreclosure mediation and was able to get the bank representatives to respond promptly to Mr. Jones’ questions prior to the mediation.  At the mediation, with the help of his Civil Justice Network attorney, Mr. Jones was able to outline his situation to the lender, and was able to successfully submit a loan modification application soon after the mediation. Mr. Jones received a loan modification with an affordable three month trial offer, which was subsequently converted to a permanent payment plan. As of 2014, Mr. Jones is still in his home and is able to keep his son enrolled in the school of his choice. Mr. Jones stated: 
“Now, looking back I don’t see how I could have considered going to foreclosure mediation without the help of Civil Justice staff and a Civil Justice lawyer advocating on my behalf. I know I would not have been able to successfully negotiate without an attorney.”


Mother Able to Stay in Home after Receiving Civil Justice Representation at Mediation

Civil Justice was contacted by Ms. Smith*, a homeowner looking for assistance with her foreclosure.  She had not previously worked with a housing counselor, but wanted to try to work out a modification for her mortgage.  Ms. Smith did not qualify for pro bono representation, but was interested in obtaining assistance through Civil Justice’s Mediation Program.  She met with a Civil Justice Network attorney prior to her mediation to discuss her situation and to determine what she wanted to accomplish.  Ms. Smith was able to pay her current mortgage payment but could not get caught up on some of the past due amounts that accumulated after she lost her overtime income.  Ms. Smith and her Civil Justice Network attorney met with the mediator and representatives of her mortgage company.  The Civil Justice attorney negotiated a forbearance plan that allowed Ms. Smith to make her existing monthly payments for three months before the loan was converted to a permanent loan modification that she could afford. Once all three payments were made on time, the foreclosure action was stayed, and after the final modification had been executed, the foreclosure action was dismissed.  As of 2014, Ms. Smith still lives in the home, and is happy that “everything worked out.” 

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

 
© 2017 Civil Justice, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer
Privacy Statement