An Ohio homeowner may be among the first individuals to use a provision of the Dodd-Frank law to file a lawsuit against a mortgage servicing company.
Abuses by mortgage companies against consumers have received much attention in the past few years, with several high-profile national settlements. Now, SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. can be added to the list of companies who have to pay consumers back for millions of wrongful gains due to abuses in mortgage servicing, mortgage origination and foreclosure.
Many Ohio real estate specialists will tell you that having a foreclosure in your neighborhood can drive down the selling price of the rest of the homes on your block. But the effect may be more than financial.
A nonprofit’s annual study of foreclosures in Cincinnati and Hamilton County found reason for homeowners to feel hopeful, as well as continuing cause for concern. The number of foreclosure sales in 2013 was down 17.5 percent. Twenty-four percent fewer foreclosure proceedings were initiated during the year.
According to an article examining foreclosure filings in Ohio, what began as a problem affecting mostly urban areas in the mid-1990s ballooned to crisis levels, with more than 70,000 new foreclosures filed in 2012.
In the past several months, some have heralded the fact that the foreclosure crisis is over. Having addressed abuses like overextended credit, wrongful evictions, and other practices that took the dream of homeownership away from many families, lenders seem to have changed the way they handle the foreclosure process. But, have these wrongful practices really disappeared? Or have they just shifted to another segment of the financial industry?
After several years of record-setting foreclosure rates in Ohio, the rates dropped in 2013 as compared to previous years, according to a news report. Even though that sounds like good news, Ohio does still rank fifth in the country in the rate of foreclosures. In 2013, one of every 65 properties in Ohio was involved in the foreclosure process at one point or another.
In the wake of the housing market crash, mortgage lenders have gotten a bad reputation for improper and rushed foreclosures that violate the rights of homeowners. In a case that is currently before the Ohio Supreme Court, a bank has filed a foreclosure action against an Ohio couple before the bank even held the mortgage.
Foreclosure has been an overriding concern for many homeowners since the housing bubble burst in 2007. According to housing analyst data, Ohio has been listed as one of the states with the greatest percentage of deeply underwater foreclosures occurring. Fortunately, these foreclosures appeared to have been declining in December as we are seeing more homes described as being rich in equity. Hopefully this trend will continue.