The Law Offices of Robert E. Brown, P.C.

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(212) 766-9779

The firm’s resources are available throughout the day and night in order to accommodate
the unique needs of our clients. We are reachable at (347) 750-2334

Addressing All Your Mortgage and Foreclosure Issues

The Law Offices of Robert E. Brown, P.C.

What to Do If You Are Served with a Foreclosure Lawsuit

Foreclosure-ImageNew York foreclosures are judicial, which means the foreclosing bank has to file a lawsuit in court. When you receive a NY foreclosure summons you must respond or risk being left out of the process entirely. If you choose to not respond or skip the court proceeding, you can guarantee the lender will take full advantage of this and in many instances the court will enter a default judgment, which will set in motion the lender’s right to foreclose on your home.

A ‘response’ from you essentially means that you are answering the summons. You will file an official response with the court that is based on your particular circumstances or defenses for arguing against it. There are several options here and our skilled, seasoned foreclosure defense attorneys can help you decide which is best for you. Let’s consider a few.

‘Lack of Standing’ is a popular defense when you seek to argue that the foreclosure filer is not the legal owner of the mortgage. ‘Payment Made’ is exactly as it sounds. In this defense you are arguing that you have made your payments but the payments were not credited properly. ‘No Notice’ would be used when you are informing the court that you were never given the required 90-day Pre-Foreclosure Notice that is mandated by New York law. The ‘Active Military’ response would be used when the property owner is an active duty member of the military and thereby qualifies for strict protections in accordance with state and/or federal laws. And finally, ‘Improper Serving’ would be the type of response you would ‘answer’ with when the summons and complaint was not properly served and therefore did not follow the required procedure.

There are other options available to you as well, but the bottom line is that a successful response and defense may render the lender unable to continue with their foreclosure, or at the very least—slow it down, which might then afford you the extra time to make other arrangements, such as filing bankruptcy or negotiating some type of mortgage modification.

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Staten Island, NY

I Can’t Afford My Mortgage. What Can I Do?

No one enjoys foreclosure, neither you nor the lender. For you, it’s the potential loss of your home. For the lender, well, they’d rather you just keeping making payments on time so they can keep collecting that interest. A foreclosure is not an ideal situation for either party; however, sometimes it is unavoidable. But what can you do if you desire to find an alternate path? Let’s consider some of the best options.


If you have not yet missed a mortgage payment, consider the current rates and talk to your lender, or approach a new lender, about mortgage refinancing. Shop around for a rate and lender that will offer you the best options. Adjusting your payments may help you to avoid a foreclosure, or at the very least, help you save some money that will be useful if you do have to head into foreclosure later down the road.

Loan Modification

Talk to your current lender about modification of your existing loan. If you’ve been a good borrower in their eyes they may be empathetic and offer you a lower interest rate, reduce your principal balance, or let you extend the term. But as with refinancing, your chances of receiving a favorable response from a lender will be better if you have not yet missed a payment. Thus, always act quickly if you feel you may be approaching a month where you can’t make your payment. Heading off the problem before you miss the payment will allow lenders to view you as a responsible person and may be more willing to help you during your difficult financial time.

Repayment Plan

For borrowers who are behind on their mortgage payments, a repayment plan may be an option. If you communicate with your lender about your current hardship right away they may offer you a repayment plan opportunity, which would allow you an allotted time to get current on your payments.

Consider HARP

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is an option for homeowners who are up to date on their payments but have gone upside down, which is a phrase that simply means they owe more than what their home is actually worth in the current market.


When you are sure that you will not be able to afford your mortgage payments any longer you might consider requesting a forbearance plan from your lender. In a forbearance you would have a period of time in which you can cease making any payments to allow you an opportunity to get on a better financial footing. When the predetermined forbearance period expires you would then be required to make up all missed payments, as well as begin making your regular payments as usual.

Short Sale

In special circumstances, some lenders will allow you to short sale. In a short sale you will lose your home, but your credit will be damaged less than if you are foreclosed upon. In a short sale the lender agrees to accept less than the actual outstanding mortgage and upon receiving the funds for the short sale will then consider your debt paid in full.


In this process you simply voluntarily pass the deed to your home over to your lender and thereby avoid the entire foreclosure process. Not every lender will agree to this option, and there could be significant tax issues to contend with, but it is a viable option to try if you have reached the end of your road and can no longer maintain your mortgage through other means.

The firm’s resources are available throughout the day and night in order to accommodate
the unique needs of our clients. We are reachable at (347)750-2334

If I Am Served with A Foreclosure Lawsuit, How Long Do I Have Before I’ll Be Removed from My Home?

Foreclosure can be an intimidating process, but you have rights. You have the legal right to reside in your home until the entire foreclosure proceeding is finished. The process is not a quick one, often taking a few months or longer, possibly up to an entire year. New York is particularly difficult for foreclosing parties and in NY a lender may not be able to foreclose, in some circumstances, for even more than a year.

In the state of New York, foreclosures are ‘judicial foreclosures,’ meaning they have to go through the court system to be realized. In a judicial foreclosure process, you will be sent an official complaint and summons stating that a foreclosure lawsuit has been filed against you, and you will then have 20 or 30 days to respond to it. And even though you are now officially in a foreclosure court proceeding you still are not required to vacate your property as there will always be a block of time between notice of foreclosure to an actual sale of the home. This period will vary from state to state, but is usually anywhere from two months to one year, and remember, NY state typically takes even longer, but not always. Consult with us and we’ll inform you of all your options, so you will be prepared, and if you cannot stop the foreclosure you will at least get a general sense of how long you have before you’ll be physically removed by the sheriff.

How Do I Qualify for a Loan Modification?

How Do I Qualify for a Loan Modification?With a loan modification, as with other mortgage relief scenarios, you have options; though there is no guarantee that any one particular person will qualify as cases are considered carefully and individually. The government offers HAMP, which stands for Home Affordable Modification Program. With HAMP you do not have to already be delinquent on your mortgage payments in order to qualify, so it could be an option for some. That said however, an abundance of lenders will not consider a homeowner for this program until the homeowner has begun missing their payments. And to qualify for HAMP, you must prove that the property is your primary residence.

But for any type of loan modification you must meet a few basic guidelines such as:

  • You must currently be in a financial hardship.
  • You must show that you have no cash reserves to fall back on, though penalized early withdrawal accounts such as retirement savings, etc. are exempt in most cases.
  • You must demonstrate that you can no longer afford your mortgage payments.
  • And you must demonstrate that you will be able to stay current on your payments if you are offered a modified payment schedule.

How Do I Save My Home?

How Do I Save My Home?

When your back is against the wall, and you’re desperate to stop foreclosure, and save your home, there are a few strategies that you can implement to veer off the foreclosure highway before it reaches its terminus.


If the foreclosure sale is scheduled to occur soon, filing for bankruptcy will halt the sale of your home. A bankruptcy filing creates an automatic stay that is court approved and it will act as an injunction, prohibiting your lender from foreclosing or even attempting to collect the debt you owe. Of course the lender can file a motion and seek to lift the stay, but this will take time, and it could give you enough time to figure out a better plan.

Loan Modification

A loan modification may allow you to delay foreclosure if you can demonstrate that you will be able to keep up with modified payments. Talk to your lender about this option, and the earlier the better.

About Attorney

About Attorney

Robert E. Brown founded the Law Offices of Robert E. Brown, P.C. in 2006. Before opening his own firm, Mr. Brown worked as a lawyer for the international firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, and the renowned firm of Slotnick, Shapiro & Crocker — a leading criminal defense and matrimonial boutique. Prior to his law career, Mr. Brown was a member of the New York City Police Department. He retired as a Captain from the 5th Precinct, located in Chinatown, after a prestigious Over 18-year career.

The firm’s resources are available throughout the day and night in order to accommodate
the unique needs of our clients. We are reachable at (347)750-2334

Office Location


14 Wall Street, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10005

Phone: (212) 766-9779

Fax: (718) 979-9784

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260 Christopher Lane
Staten Island, NY 10314

Phone: (718) 979-9779

Fax: (718) 979-9784

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