In Luzerne County and other parts of Pennsylvania, including neighboring Lackawanna, Columbia, Monroe, Wayne and Pike Counties, banks will not take formal mortgage foreclosure action against a homeowner until he or she is several months behind with his or her mortgage payments.
If the homeowner fails to respond to the bank’s initial informal notice, the bank will issue Act 6 and Act 91 letters as required by Pennsylvania law, to notify the homeowner of: (A) his or her right to bring the mortgage arrearage current within 30 days to avoid attorney’s fees and costs; and (B) the availability of assistance from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority.
If the arrearage is not then cured or Act 91 assistance is not applied for within the 30-day period, or the Act 91 application is rejected, the bank will file and serve a mortgage foreclosure complaint upon the homeowner.
The homeowner will then have 20 days to answer the complaint to raise any defenses he or she may have.
If the complaint is not answered, the bank will issue another ten day notice of its intention to file a judgment.
If the complaint is then not answered, a judgment is entered. If the complaint is answered, a hearing or trial on the issues raised will be held several months later.
If the complaint is not answered or the homeowner is not successful at the hearing or trial, a judgment in mortgage foreclosure will be entered of record, after which the bank will file a series of documents with the court to notify other mortgage or judgment holders of its judgment and to set a sheriff’s sale date for the auction of the homeowner’s property.
The homeowner must get at least 30 days advanced notice of the actual date for the sheriff’s sale.
As a practical matter, it takes at least 6 months or more from the date that the homeowner stops paying his or her mortgage until the date of the sheriff’s sale in Luzerne County.
In my next post, I will describe how a sheriff’s sale is conducted in Luzerne County and its neighboring counties. Until then, please feel free to call me at (570) 823-9400 or send an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding the mortgage foreclosure process in Luzerne County and neighboring Lackawanna, Columbia, Monroe, Wayne and Pike Counties and whether a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing may be a solution to resolving your foreclosure problem.
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