Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Court Ruling in Rochester May Affect Foreclosures in Minnesota

When you think of Rochester Minnesota - you may think of the winding Zumbro river, the large IBM site or, of course, the Mayo Clinic.  It's not often you think of Rochester as a setting for courtroom drama that may change the way banks and their attorneys handle foreclosures.  However, a recent court decision in Olmsted County may do just that.

A foreclosure that had taken place in August of 2010 was ruled invalid by Olmsted County District Judge Jodi Williamson, because the Notice of Foreclosure Sale (Sheriff's Sale) was posted in a small newspaper in a neighboring township - not in a publication distributed in the area where the house was located.

The State of Minnesota requires that lenders notify homeowners of a pending sale by attempting to serve the occupant of the property with the Sale Notice (via local Sheriff or process server) AND publish, for 6 consecutive weeks, the date and location of the sale in a local publication.  

According to housing counselors in the Rochester area, many attorneys use the smaller nearby papers due to the costs of publishing foreclosure notices in the Rochester paper.  According to sources, the cost to publish a foreclosure notice in the Rochester Post Bulletin was the highest in the state.  

If this ruling holds, it will mean that some foreclosures that took place in Rochester will be ruled invalid.  

However, this won't be the end of foreclosures in Rochester as:

  1. Many homeowners would have been notified via process server anyway, and
  2. Most lenders will simply refile the foreclosure, obtain a new sale date from the Sheriffs Department and notify homeowners again, this time complying with the state statute.  

It's still great to see that Minnesota is "ahead of the curve" when it comes to consumer protections under the law.  Even when a bank must proceed with a foreclosure - if there are no other options - they must comply with the law.

If you're a homeowner struggling with your mortgage - don't wait for a legal ruling or hope for a legal loophole to avoid facing your foreclosure issue - non-profit (free) housing counseling is available throughout the state - including Olmsted County - to help YOU avoid foreclosure.  Don't delay, visit the Minnesota Home Ownership Center's website HERE to find your local counselor.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Video - Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program

The Minnesota Homeownership Center has created a new video to assist consumers in understanding the new Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program.

As yesterday's post mentioned, under EHLP 1,405 selected (unemployed/underemployed) Minnesota homeowners will receive up to $50,000 in interest-free loans over the next two years to help pay mortgage costs. The loans are also 100% forgivable for homeowners who stay in their home for 5 years following the program’s completion.

The program can be a little difficult to understand, as it has very strict qualification guidelines and actually rolls out in several phases over the next few months.  MN Housing and the MN Homeownership Center have created a website: www.EHLPMinnesota.com to try and outline some of the program guidelines and explain to consumers how the program works.

NOW, the Center has added a new video that explains, in seven short minutes, the basics of the EHLP program and how to apply.  

Please feel free to share this video or embed it on your website!  If you do share it, please let us know in the comments or by email: ed@hocmn.org.

Here's the video:

To link to the video from your site, blog or email, use: http://youtu.be/qtQ2NBlxYFE

To embed the video on your site, visit the link above and click on the "Share" button below the video.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Program - EHLP

Homeowners facing foreclosure due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment or medical issues are eligible to benefit from a new federal program: the Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program (EHLP).

The program is only accepting applications between July 5 & July 22. Under this program, more than 1,400 selected Minnesota homeowners will receive up to $50,000 in interest-free loans over the next two years to help pay mortgage costs. The loans are also 100% forgivable for homeowners who stay in their home for 5 years following the program's completion.

Homeowners eligible to apply for the federal program must meet several criteria, including:

  • Have faced an income decline of at least 15% due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment or medical issues
  • Have been unable to make their mortgage payment for at least 3 months prior to June 1, 2011
  • Reside in the mortgaged property

Unemployed or underemployed homeowners should visit the program's Minnesota website at www.EHLPMinnesota.com  to learn more about the program, verify eligibility and download a pre-application.

Remember: The deadline to apply for this one-of-a-kind program is 4:30p.m. on Friday, July 22.

Homeowners are also being warned to steer clear of scams.  There is no charge to apply for EHLP and checking eligibility and filling out the pre-application is simple.  An offer to help fill out EHLP forms for a fee or anyone who guarantees that a pre-application will result in acceptance in the program in exchange for money is a scam. 

Visit www.EHLPMinnesota.com for more information.


CALL TO ACTION:  Help Us Spread The Word!

If you know of unemployed/underemployed homeowners who are struggling with mortgage payments, we ask that you spread the word to them about this unique, and short-lived, opportunity.

Below you will find additional tools that you can use to help spread the word (Links to documents):

Maybe a link on your website?  An email to friends/family or clients?  A handout at the cash register or inserted into clients purchases? A blog post on your company or personal blog?  WHATEVER!  We'd love to hear about it!  Post a comment about how you're helping, or visit our Facebook page and share your outreach ideas.  THANKS!