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.
The couple reportedly had a mortgage with Wells Fargo, but they were sued by Bank of America in 2010. Wells Fargo had apparently entered into an arrangement to assign the mortgage to Bank of America around the time the foreclosure suit was filed, but the actual transfer of the note and mortgage did not occur until nine days after the Bank of America suit was filed. Bank of America was awarded a summary judgment in the matter when the homeowners did not respond to the bank's foreclosure lawsuit immediately.
Several consumers' rights advocacy organizations have filed briefs in support of the mortgage borrowers' rights. Their position is that allowing Bank of America to foreclose a mortgage they did not even own sets a dangerous example. It has also been pointed out that because Bank of America filed suit even before they held the note, this left zero options for the homeowners to pursue opportunities with the mortgage lender that could have potentially saved their home and stopped foreclosure.
Regardless of the tactics of the original mortgage lender and of Bank of America, the truth is that fighting foreclosure is a complicated process. Nonetheless, homeowners do have rights and these rights need to be protected. Those who are facing foreclosure in Ohio should seek legal counsel. In many cases, there may be debt relief options available that will help homeowners stay in their homes.
Source: Cleveland.com, "Hinckley couple fights in Ohio Supreme Court against foreclosure Bank of America initiated before it held their mortgage," Robert Higgs, Jan. 8, 2014