DOB: Avoiding Foreclosure

Avoiding Foreclosure

{Home}

Are you falling behind on your monthly mortgage payments? Have you found yourself delinquent on your loan? You are not alone. Millions of people have trouble with their mortgage every year but foreclosure can often be prevented. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. The following tips may help you avoid foreclosure.

Contact the Foreclosure Assistance Hotline
Contact Your Mortgage Lender or Servicer
Contact a HUD-Approved Housing Counselor
Check into Refinancing, Loan and Modification Programs
Consider a Reverse Mortgage
Contact Legal Services
Attend a Foreclosure Prevention Clinic
Apply for the Foreclosure Mediation Program
Contact the CT Association for Community Action (CAFCA)
Contact the Department of Social Service and Housing Programs
Contact the Mortgage Crisis Job Training Program
Contact Veterans Affairs
Avoid Foreclosure "Rescue" Scams
Protect Your Pet
Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants in Foreclosed Properties


Helpful Resources
For more information download the following Department of Banking publications:


 
 Contact the Foreclosure Hotline: 1-877-472-8313
 
The State of Connecticut Department of Banking Foreclosure Hotline was established on August 24, 2007 in response to the subprime mortgage crisis, and was the third foreclosure hotline created in the country.  Connecticut residents who are behind in their mortgage or facing foreclosure on their homes can call the Foreclosure Hotline toll-free at 1-877-472-8313 for advice and guidance regarding mortgage issues and their foreclosure case.  Our mission is to ensure that we communicate in a timely basis all the state and federal programs that you may qualify for.

The toll-free hotline, 1-877-472-8313, is open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  You can leave a message after hours and your call will be returned within two business days.
 

 Contact Your Mortgage Lender or Servicer 

Act early.  Contact your lender as soon as you find yourself unable to make your monthly payment and make your lender aware of your financial difficulties. A workout may include reasonable options and payment plans.  More than one-third of those who take initiative and seek assistance are successful in finding foreclosure alternatives.


Banks and financial institutions will often work with delinquent borrowers and find reasonable arrangements rather than foreclosing on the loans immediately.
 

Don’t ignore letters from your lender if you miss payments.  It is important to know that if you miss several mortgage payments and your loan is in default, your lender may start foreclosure proceedings. You can make missed payments, plus any late fees, or get reviewed for mortgage assistance with your lender.  It is crucial that you contact your lender since lenders who believe you are acting in good faith will be willing to work with you.

Take steps to prevent a foreclosure as soon as you realize you are having trouble making payments. Be proactive.  You can:

Step  Action 
1
 Take control and make or take the call
  • Review the terms and conditions of your mortgage.
  • Call your lender about your options to avoid foreclosure.
2
Go pro
  • Find out about local, state, and national resources to assist with your finances and to work with your lender.
3
Slam the Scam
  • Scam artists try to take advantage of homeowners in default or foreclosure by charging thousands of dollars for false promises of help
4
Get it Done
  • Submit a complete application for mortgage assistance early. Your lender is required under new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rules to provide a review of foreclosure options.
5
Stand up for your Rights 
  • You can submit an inquiry or complaint to the Department of Banking.

 Contact a HUD-Approved Housing Counselor

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a list of approved housing counselors who give free advice regarding your financial information and can work with your mortgage lender.  Some of these agencies are also approved by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) to discuss the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP) and are trained in handling government loans as well as “conventional” loans. Counselors can:
  • Assist in identifying solutions to your financial issues.
  • Review your budget.
  • Negotiate with your mortgage company to address issues, including federal and CHFA programs.
  • Assist in preparing for the Judicial Foreclosure Mediation Program.

Phone:    1-800-569-4287
Website:  HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies in Connecticut 


Contact Homeowner’s HOPE: 1-877-571-2432

Homeowner’s HOPE, a service of the nonprofit Homeownership Preservation Foundation and NeighborWorks America, is a toll-free hotline to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by providing free guidance including an action plan, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Phone:      1-888-995-HOPE (4673)
Website:   http://www.hopenow.com/hotline-aboutus.php

Contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): 860-240-4800

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Hartford Field Office can address your issues regarding HUD loans.

Contact:  Suzanne Piacentini, Field Office Director
Phone:  (860) 240-4800
Website: HUD Hartford Field Office

 
Check out the HUD website, which offers guidance to homeowners on
How to Avoid Foreclosure.
 

 Check into Refinancing, Loan and Modification Programs

Review the Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program

The Making Home Affordable Program (MHA), also known as the "Obama Plan," provides mortgage help and can help avoid foreclosure.

 

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is available to homeowners who pay their mortgage on time but are not able to refinance due to a decrease in the home’s value.  You must be:

  • Owner of a one to four unit home
  • Current on your mortgage payments, and have,
  • A mortgage owned/guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
  • Current Loan-to-Value (LTV) greater than 80% - divide your loan amount by the lesser of the home’s appraised value or purchase price (if applicable).

The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) provides eligible borrowers the opportunity to modify their first mortgage loans to make them more affordable through interest rate reduction, term extension, principal forbearance, and principal forgiveness.  Eligibility includes, your:

  • Home must be your primary residence.
  • Property has not been condemned.
  • Payment on the first mortgage, including principal, interest, taxes, insurance (PITI), and homeowner’s association dues if applicable, is equal to 31% of the current gross income.
Also, if you:
  • Owe up to $729,750 (1 unit), $934,200 (2 units), $1,129,250 (3 units), $1,403,400 (4 units).
  • Are struggling to make your mortgage payments due to a financial hardship.
  • Obtained your current mortgage on or before January 1, 2009.
  • Have not been convicted within the last 10 years of a crime regarding a mortgage or real estate transaction.

Call your lender to apply or if they are not a participating lender, ask for a comparable proprietary loan modification or “in-house” program. Visit the MHA website for an updated list of participating lenders.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Look-up


To determine if you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage, you can perform a Fannie Mae Look-up and a Freddie Mac Look-up.


Contact Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA): 1-877-571-2432

CHFA provides mortgage financing at rates below the conventional market to offer affordable alternatives to low and moderate income first-time homebuyers in Connecticut. 

Phone:   (860) 721-9501
            (877) 571-CHFA (2432)
E-mail:   info@chfa.org

Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP)

EMAP is administered by CHFA to provide emergency mortgage assistance payments to eligible homeowners suffering a financial hardship.  Assistance is in the form of a 30-year, fixed rate fully amortizing loan.

If you are a borrower already in foreclosure, you may apply/qualify for EMAP if:

  1. You have taken the necessary steps to negotiate with your lender directly or through a face-to-face meeting with a HUD-approved housing counselor, and
  2. You have been unsuccessful in resolving the delinquency/default.


USDA Rural Housing Service

The USDA Rural Housing Service has loan programs that may be available to refinance your mortgage if you are in threat of foreclosure, have a fixed rate mortgage, and depending on your household income and the location of your residence.  Contact USDA for available programs, qualifications, income guidelines and loan limits.

Windham & New London Counties:
Norwich Service Center
238 West Town Street
Norwich, CT 06360
Phone:  (860) 859-5218, X 200 or X 201

Tolland, Middlesex, Hartford, Litchfield, New Haven & Fairfield Counties:

Windsor Service Center
100 Northfield Drive, 4th floor
Windsor, CT 06095-4729
Phone:  (860) 688-7725, X 130

  
Review FHA Short Refinancing and FHA Streamlined Refinancing

FHA Short Refinance is a program available if you owe more on your mortgage than you home is worth – or are “underwater” – because of a large decline in home values. Contact your lender for eligibility.

Note: Non-participants in the program are: Bank of America (BOA), CitiMortgage, and JPMorgan Chase.

FHA Streamlined Refinance allows you to reduce the interest rate on the current home loan quickly and without an appraisal. Review the FHA List of Approved Lenders.

 Consider a Reverse Mortgage

If one or both of the homeowners on the title is over age 62, you may want to consider a reverse mortgage.  For more information, read the Federal Trade Commission's fact sheet, Reverse Mortgages: Get the Facts Before Cashing in on Your Home's Equity.

CHFA offers a Reverse Annuity Mortgage that allows a low-income homeowner who is at least 70 years of age, with a need for long-term care or supportive services, to use the equity in his or her single-family home, condominium or planned unit development to provide a monthly tax-free cash payment or lump sum at the closing.  Contact CHFA, at (860) 517-3502 or 1-877-571-2432.

 Contact Legal Services

There are multiple options for free and low-cost legal assistance in Connecticut if you have mortgage and/or foreclosure issues.

Attend the Volunteer Attorney Program (VAP)

Volunteer attorneys are available through a State of Connecticut Judicial Branch program for advice and to answer questions about foreclosure and mortgage issues on a first-come, first-served basis. Homeowners facing foreclosure in any judicial district are welcome to attend at any courthouse.

If you would like to participate in the program and need an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact Cheryl Halford at the telephone number listed below.

Phone:           Cheryl Halford, 860-263-2734 X3038

Bridgeport Superior Court
1061 Main St., in Room 208 (2nd Floor) 
 Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Hartford Superior Court
95 Washington Street, Room 103 (1st Floor)
 Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
New Britain Superior Court
20 Franklin Square, Room 406 (4th Floor)
Note: Videoconference from Waterbury.
 Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
New Haven Superior Court
235 Church St., Room 7B (7th floor)
 Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
New London Superior Court
70 Huntington St., Room E-309 (3rd Floor)
 Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Stamford Superior Court
123 Hoyt St., Rms. 704 and 705 (7th Floor)
 Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 
Waterbury Superior Court
300 Grand St., Rooms 9.05 and 9.06 (2nd Floor)
 Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Contact the County Bar Associations’ Lawyer Referral Service

County Bar Associations in Connecticut have a Lawyer Referral Service,  with an attorney who can answer legal questions. Appointments are $25 or $35 depending on the county. Services beyond the initial half hour are at the attorney’s market rate.

Fairfield County - 203-335-4116 - $35 fee for 1/2 hour consultation
Hartford County* - 860-525-6052- $25 fee for 1/2 hour consultation
New Haven County - 203-562-5750 - $35 fee for 1/2 hour consultation
New London County - 860-889-9384 - $25 fee for 1/2 hour consultation
 
* The Hartford County Bar also covers Litchfield, Middlesex, Tolland, and Windham Counties.

Contact Statewide Legal Services: 1-800-453-3320

Statewide Legal Services provides free legal advice and assistance to low-income individuals with noncriminal legal matters, including landlord/tenant issues and foreclosure cases resulting in Housing Court evictions.  Note:  Does not currently provide foreclosure assistance. 

Phone:  Contact SLS at (860) 344-0380 (Central Connecticut & Middletown), 
            or 1-800-453-3320 (for other regions).
References: Foreclosure: Your Rights and Options

Visit a Court Service Center

Court Service Centers available at some Superior Court locations provide the following to Connecticut residents: free printers, fax machines, copiers, scanners, phones, electronic filing, work space, staff assistance, Notary Public Services, calendar and docket information, court forms, judicial publications, and work space.

Superior Court locations: Ansonia-Milford, Danbury, Fairfield, Hartford, Meriden, Middlesex, New Britain, New Haven, Norwich, Stamford, Tolland, Waterbury, and Windham.

Contact the Consumer Law Project for Elders (CLPE): 1-800-296-1467

Consumer Law Project for Elders (CLPE), a service of Statewide Legal Services, provides free legal assistance to Connecticut seniors 60 and over who have consumer questions or problems, including debt collection, predatory lending and identity theft.  Note: Does not offer foreclosure services.

 Attend a Foreclosure Prevention Clinic

Department of Banking staff participates in free monthly Foreclosure Prevention Clinics, sponsored by the Connecticut Fair Housing Center.  These free clinics are offered in Hartford, Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford.  The 2016 schedule of clinics may be found on the Connecticut Fair Housing Center's website.

Contact the Connecticut Fair Housing Center: 860-263-0731

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center, a non-profit agency in Hartford, serves as a resource for borrowers, housing counselors, consumer attorneys, and policy makers on foreclosure prevention, responsible lending, and mortgage lending discrimination. More information on the clinics, locations, directions, dates, and times is available by contacting the Connecticut Fair Housing Center.

Phone:         1-888-247-4401

Reference:   Representing Yourself in Foreclosure: A Guide for Connecticut Homeowners

 Apply for the Foreclosure Mediation Program

Foreclosure is a court process and you must follow the process carefully to protect your rights.  If you have been served with a summons and complaint and cannot hire an attorney to represent you or you do not qualify for free legal assistance, you may represent yourself.  The Judicial Department offers FAQs for persons who wish to represent themselves in court, which includes information about filing an Appearance form.  Filing an Appearance entitles you to receive all court notices and calendars concerning your foreclosure at the address you provide in the Appearance.

Foreclosure Mediation Program  is a voluntary program that was established in 2008, by the Chief Court Administrator in each judicial district to assist homeowners whose one-to-four family, owner-occupied residential property in Connecticut is the subject of a foreclosure action.  The homeowner/borrower must file a Foreclosure Mediation Certificate form (JD-CV-108), and an Appearance form (JD-CL-12). These forms must be filed not more than fifteen (15) days from the return date on the Summons. 

If you have questions about the Foreclosure Mediation Program, please contact Nancy McGann at 860-263-2734, ext. 3067, or email her at Nancy.McGann@jud.ct.gov.

 Contact the CT Association for Community Action (CAFCA)

Community Action Agencies (CAAs)
Connecticut’s 12 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) help people meet immediate needs through services such as eviction and foreclosure prevention, energy/heating assistance, food pantries, and Weatherization. CAAs also empower people to improve their financial future through employment services, financial literacy training, and other programs.

The Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program (EFPP) provides assistance in paying rent or a grant ($1,200 maximum) toward a mortgage payment to low-income and moderate-income households who are at risk of becoming homeless or are in imminent danger of eviction or foreclosure.  For contact information to access this program, call Infoline at 211.

To locate your local CAA visit the Connecticut Association for Community Action, or call (860)832-9438.

 Contact the Department of Social Services and Review Housing Programs

2-1-1
211 is a partnership between the State of Connecticut and United Way of Connecticut to provide a single source of information to Connecticut residents to assist them in locating community services, human services and crisis intervention services in your area.  Professional call specialists help callers assess their situation and find appropriate services using a comprehensive database of human service resources.  You can learn about federal and state assistance programs you may qualify for by completing a short survey using the 2-1-1 Navigator.

Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS)
DSS, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, United Way’s 2-1-1 Infoline, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development are founding sponsors of a free  to help people find accessible and affordable rental housing in Connecticut.  DSS is a state agency that provides a broad range of services, including housing-related services, offered through DSS regional offices and through direct grants to municipalities and community-based agencies.  DSS, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, United Way’s 2-1-1 Infoline, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development are founding sponsors of a free housing registry to help people find accessible and affordable rental housing in Connecticut.  For information, call 1-877-428-8844 (en español, 1-877-428-8844, ext. 204).

Contact the Mortgage Crisis Job Training Program

The state-funded Mortgage Crisis Job Training Program is a project of The WorkPlace, Inc. and Capital Workforce Partners that helps homeowners increase their job skills and earning potential through customized employment services and job training scholarships. 

Phone: 1-866-683-1682.

Contact Veterans Affairs

The State of Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Office of Advocacy and Assistance provides assistance to veterans, eligible spouses and dependents in obtaining veterans benefits under federal, state and local laws.

Phone:  1-866-9CT-VETS (1-866-928-8387) for the Veterans Infoline

The Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Marines’ Fund is an agency of the State of Connecticut established to assist needy wartime veterans and their families and is administered by The American Legion.  Connecticut veterans requiring assistance may contact a full-time Veterans Aid Investigator to discuss their situation, the assistance that might be available and how to apply.  Assistance, which may include help with mortgage interest payments, is provided for temporary periods only.
Phone:  1-800-491-4941

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Home Loan Guaranty Program assists eligible veterans, active duty personnel, Reserve members and National Guard personnel with purchasing and retaining a home.  If you have a VA loan and are having a problem making payments, the program may be able to arrange a repayment plan or other alternative to foreclosure.  For home loan counseling, contact the Regional Loan Center for Connecticut at:
Phone:  1-800-827-6311 or 1-800-827-0336

 Avoid Foreclosure “Rescue” Scams

People in foreclosure are frequently targeted for “foreclosure rescue scams.” Be very careful of non-lawyers who ask you to pay a fee for a counseling service, modification of an existing loan, or foreclosure prevention, or claim to be able to perform a “forensic audit” of your loan documents, regardless of their promises or claims. Many out-of-state attorneys target Connecticut residents: you should never pay attorneys that you do not meet. For more information, contact the Department of Banking or visit the following websites: Prevent Loan Scams and Loan Modification Scam Alert.

In some of these “rescue” scams, a con artist promises to help you save your home, but is actually intent on stealing your home or most of the equity you have accumulated in your home.  According to the FTC, the following predatory scams have been reported: 

  • The foreclosure prevention specialist: The “specialist” really is a phony counselor who charges hefty fees in exchange for making a few phone calls or completing some paperwork that a homeowner could easily do for himself. None of the actions result in saving the home.  Turning to a HUD-approved counselor for assistance is one way to avoid this type of fraud.
  • The lease/buy back: Homeowners are deceived into signing over the deed to their home to a scam artist who tells them they will be able to remain in the house as a renter and eventually buy it back. Usually, the terms of this scheme are so demanding that the buy-back becomes impossible, the homeowner gets evicted, and the “rescuer” walks off with most or all of the equity.
  • The bait-and-switch: Homeowners think they are signing documents to bring the mortgage current. Instead, they are signing over the deed to their home. Homeowners usually don’t know they’ve been scammed until they get an eviction notice.

 Protect Your Pet

Pets are not only companions, but part of the family.  If you are faced with foreclosure and need to move where pets are not allowed, or if you can no longer afford to maintain your pet, please do not abandon your pet.  Try to find a friend, co-worker or family member willing to accept your pet.  Animal shelters and animal rescue organizations are also listed below:

Connecticut Humane Society
Phone: 1-800-452-0114 (Newington)
           860-442-8583 (Waterford)
           203-227-4137 (Westport)

SPCA of Connecticut
Phone:  203-445-9978

No Paws Left Behind, Inc.
Phone:  281-717-0055

Petfinder (for a listing of pet shelters)