New York to Assure Legal Aid to ALL Homeowners in Foreclosure Cases
Guess the $1,200 flat fee Foreclosure Mill Business model just flew out the window in NY…
New York court officials outlined procedures Tuesday aimed at assuring that all homeowners facing foreclosure were represented by a lawyer, a significant shift that could give thousands of families a chance to strike a better deal with lenders.
Criminal defendants are guaranteed a lawyer, but New York will be the first state to try to extend that pledge to foreclosures, which are civil matters. There are about 80,000 active foreclosure cases in New York courts.
Under the procedures, which will be put in place in Queens and Orange Counties in the next few weeks and then across the entire state, any homeowner in foreclosure who does not have a lawyer will be supplied one by legal aid groups or other volunteer groups.
New York has been successful in getting foreclosure defendants to show up at settlement meetings overseen by a judge and attended by the lender, but most are unassisted and have little idea how to proceed. The cases are overwhelming the courts.
The state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, said the current system was “such an uneven playing field.”
“Banks wind up with the property and the homeowner winds up over the cliff, on the street,” Judge Lippman said. “It doesn’t serve anyone’s interest, including the bank’s.”
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