Foreclosure Help for Homeowners - Financial Regulation
If you know that you will be unable to afford your mortgage payments in the future or if you’re already in default and facing foreclosure, you may be feeling scared, ashamed and unsure of what to do. Keep reading to find out how to ask for assistance from your lender or mortgage servicer, get help from a reputable nonprofit agency and avoid scams. Learn about your rights as a Maryland homeowner facing foreclosure, and where to go for more information. Start now to have the best chance of saving your home!
Contact Your Lender or Mortgage Servicer
You must communicate with your lender or mortgage servicer to avoid foreclosure.* Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. They cannot help until they hear from you.
- Call your lender or servicer and ask what options are available to you to avoid foreclosure. The sooner you call, the more options you’ll have. You may need to submit a “Loss Mitigation Application” and provide documentation for your income, household budget, and financial hardship.
- Stay in contact with your lender or servicer. Respond quickly to their mail, emails and phone calls. Make sure they have your correct mailing address and phone number. If your lender or servicer does not hear from you they may deny your application for assistance and proceed with foreclosure.
- Do not send a partial mortgage payment without talking to your lender or servicer first. Most of the time partial payments will not bring your loan out of default or prevent foreclosure.
- Do not skip payments if you can still afford to pay your monthly amount on time. Purposefully defaulting on your loan when you are not suffering a financial hardship will negatively affect your credit and your eligibility for mortgage assistance in the future.
Know Your Rights
If you are a Maryland homeowner facing foreclosure:
- You have the right to receive timely answers and a prompt response from your lender or servicer after you ask for assistance to avoid foreclosure.
- You have the right to be informed by your lender or servicer of all your options for avoiding foreclosure after you ask for assistance.
- You have the right to receive an accurate copy of your payment history, if you request one from your lender or servicer.
- You have the right to foreclosure mediation with your lender/servicer or their representative if your home is your primary residence and you have received a “Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit”. The opportunity to request mediation occurs at a late stage in the foreclosure process, so do not wait until mediation to ask for assistance. Learn more about foreclosure mediation.
- NOTE: If you are an employee of the federal government, Maryland state government, or a local government in the State of Maryland and you have been involuntarily furloughed from work without pay due to a government shutdown, then you may qualify for a temporary pause in the foreclosure proceedings, pursuant to Maryland law [see Real Property §7-105.1(b-1) ]. You must provide sufficient evidence to the court handling your foreclosure case. Contact the Maryland Court Help Center or a legal services agency for assistance.
Help is Available!
Foreclosure prevention housing counseling is FREE for Maryland homeowners.
- Housing counselors who specialize in mortgage default provide individual guidance to homeowners about their options to avoid foreclosure and may help negotiate with your lender or servicer.
- Visit the housing counseling search page supported by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development or call 1-877-462-7555 to find a housing counseling agency near you.
Legal service agencies provide help for FREE or at reduced rates for eligible homeowners.
- Legal service agencies have trained staff and volunteer attorneys who provide homeowners with legal support if a foreclosure has been filed in court. Legal assistance is also available for foreclosure mediation and bankruptcy filings.
- Visit the legal services search page supported by the Maryland Legal Services Corp. or call 1-877-462-7555 to find a legal services agency near you.
Beware of Scams
Tips to avoid foreclosure prevention scams:
- DO NOT pay anyone in advance to assist you with a loan modification or other foreclosure prevention program. In most situations, charging upfront fees for these services is illegal. Call 1-877-462-7555 for a referral to a State-approved housing counselor who will provide free help.
- DO NOT send your mortgage payments to a third party, unless you have written approval from your lender or servicer. Reputable agencies should never instruct you to stop paying your lender or servicer and to pay them instead.
- DO NOT believe guarantees. Reputable agencies will never promise that they can stop a foreclosure.
- DO be extremely cautious with businesses or individuals who identify themselves as “mortgage assistance relief professionals”, “loss mitigation consultants”, or “mortgage analysis and document review experts”; or businesses based out-of-state or partnering with an out-of-state attorney.
- DO submit a consumer complaint to our Office if you are the victim of a foreclosure scam. Your complaint could lead to an investigation and provide vital information that will help put an end to these types of scams.
For More Information
- For homeowner resources or to locate a nonprofit housing or legal services agency near you, visit homeownerassistance.maryland.gov or call 1-877-462-7555.
- For help understanding your court-filed foreclosure case, visit the Maryland Court Help Center or call 410-260-1392.
- For a written summary of the foreclosure timeline, see Maryland’s Mortgage Foreclosure Process.
- For Maryland foreclosure laws and required forms, see Residential Property Foreclosures (Information and Procedures).
- Download the Mortgage Late? Don’t Wait! Factsheet for Maryland Homeowners (PDF).
- If you are a renter and the home you lease is in foreclosure, visit the Maryland Dept. of Housing’s Help for Renters page to learn about your rights and protections.
- To submit a complaint to our Office about your lender or mortgage servicer or to report a foreclosure prevention scam, go to Consumer Complaints and Inquiries. Call us at 410-230-6077 or email CSU.Complaints@maryland.gov for assistance.
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