Ohio Foreclosure Law and Timeline

Contrary to what most think, foreclosure defense is an extremely complex area of the law for lawyers to practice. While banks would have you believe that foreclosure comes down to a simple issue of the borrower not being able to make payments, there are actually multiple things that could stand in the way of the bank taking your home – things the bank did wrong. Those things come from statutory violations of important mortgage disclosure laws, to servicing abuse, to not delivering on promises.

  • First 30-90 Days
    Owner is behind in mortgage payments. This is the ideal time to speak with an attorney about options you have moving forward because it may provide you an opportunity to seek out a more favorable jurisdiction than the one your lender is likely to file in. Explore your options with an experienced lawyer at Doucet & Associates by calling at (614) 944-5219. The better your plan, the more options you will have once the foreclosure lawsuit starts. Click here to learn more about pre-foreclosure.
  • 30 Days Before the Lender Files Foreclosure
    Lender mails you a letter indicating you are in default and that you have thirty days to respond or foreclosure will begin. If you have not yet contacted an attorney, now is the time to call (614) 944-5219.
  • 30 Days Later
    Legal proceedings begin when bank files a complaint in court (foreclosure lawsuit).
  • 1-14 Days Later
    You are served a copy of the lawsuit by registered mail or by personal courier. Now you are on notice a foreclosure lawsuit has been filed against you, and you should act immediately to locate a qualified foreclosure defense attorney. Click here to learn more about defending foreclosure.
  • Within 28 Days of Service
    You have 28 days from the receipt of the foreclosure lawsuit (complaint) to respond or file an answer. Click here to learn more about how we can help you defend foreclosure.

    You should contact a foreclosure defense attorney immediately by calling our foreclosure defense law firm at (614) 944-5219! Attorneys need some lead time to draw up the responsive paperwork, so do not wait until your 28 days is almost up to call. You might have foreclosure defenses that run out under statutes of limitation, so you should not delay, especially if your mortgage was a refinance that closed in the last three years.
  • Within 5-30 Days, if You Do Not Answer
    The mortgage company attorney files a motion for default judgment if you do not respond and the court can immediately render a default judgment decision against you. After obtaining that judgment, the bank’s attorney files a legal form known as a “praecipe” with the clerk of courts ordering the sale of the property. You should not let your case get this far, and should contact an attorney immediately if you have not responded to the lawsuit yet. Do not delay; call (614) 944-5219 immediately to set up an appointment.

    Time is of the essence. To learn more about fighting default judgments in Ohio please read our article Fighting Default Foreclosure Judgments in Ohio.
  • Within 3-7 Days
    Within 3 days of filing the praecipe, the clerk delivers it to sheriff.
  • During the Next 2-6 Months (depending on the County)
    An appraisal of the property is ordered and completed. A sale date is set. Sale is advertised in the Daily Reporter for 5 weeks. This is a more difficult period to reopen the lawsuit if a default has been taken against you, and experienced foreclosure defense counsel will likely be needed to present the correct motions to the court to reopen the case. If your case is at this stage, you should contact counsel to determine your options and the economic feasibilities of reopening your case. Doucet & Associates can help you understand your options at this stage, including using bankruptcy to stop the sale. Call (614) 944-5219
  • Day of Sale
    Your property is auctioned at the county courthouse, with the starting bid usually equaling two-thirds of the value of the appraisal done by the sheriff (tax sales start lower). The Sheriff will auction property to highest bidder. Sales occur every Friday morning at 9 AM, in Franklin County, Ohio. The property sales information will be available online at Franklin County Sheriff Foreclosures.

    If your sale date is coming up soon, it is imperative that you call an attorney to stop the sale. Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can discuss options available to you at this late stage, including how to use bankruptcy to stop the sale immediately. Call (614) 944-5219 for help. Also read our article How to Stop a Sheriff’s Sale in Ohio to learn more.
  • Within 1 to 40 Days of Sale
    A Confirmation of Sale is issued by the court, which orders a sheriff’s deed be prepared and given to the new owner, who will next file a right to file for writ of possession. Once this has been issued, it will be very difficult to unwind the sale if the bank did not buy back the property at the auction.
  • 7-30 days after confirmation of sale
    The Sheriff’s deed is issued. New owner files for writ of possession to remove you from the property.
  • Sheriff will give you 7 – 30 days to move out of your home
    This may be extended for hardship by contacting your County’s sheriff’s office. Rarely does this period extend beyond 60 days.

Evaluating a foreclosure case requires considering a number of different areas of the law. This means a foreclosure case can become fairly complex quickly, and may require a substantial amount of time to litigate. Some statutory consumer protection statutes offer small amounts of damages (like RESPA), so a foreclosure defense case may require bringing multiple small violations in one lawsuit. Prosecuting all these small claims sometimes means substantial time, energy, and resources are needed to litigate the case.

The good news for you is that because foreclosure defense touches on so many areas of the law, there are generally more defenses available to you to fight foreclosure. While it is unlikely that you will win a free home from litigation, wining on enough claims to reduce your principal balance may be possible and sometimes likely. The number of venues for foreclosure defense also means a possibility that the bank will be required to pay your attorneys’ fees and costs, saving you money, and enabling you to hire exceptionally qualified counsel. Call Doucet & Associates today at (614) 944-5219 to determine whether substantive foreclosure defenses are available in your case.

Beyond mortgage and general real estate law, the laws that come into play with foreclosure defense include those surrounding contracts and contract formation, tort law, civil procedure, some constitutional law, and even criminal law. Foreclosure defenses can arise from any aspect of the loan transaction, from the initial sales process, to loan disclosure failure, loan closing, post-closing, servicing, pre-foreclosure, foreclosure, and even to the post foreclosure property sale. Defenses can arise from both statutory law and common law, and involve state and federal law. Finally, defenses can take the form of passive blocks that prevent the bank taking your home or they could take the form of very aggressive claims directed as a lawsuit directly at the bank. You need an attorney who can work within these laws and is familiar with mortgage regulations – someone like Troy Doucet and Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A.

It is important to find an attorney familiar with this area of the law, or who can at least can identify rescindable errors under The Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and someone with a working knowledge of how note and mortgages transfer under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). TILA is the federal law that provides one of the greatest foreclosure defenses to homeowners, and the UCC is the uniform state law that affects one of the most common issues facing those in foreclosure: whether or not the lender has standing to foreclose. Each can generate substantial defenses for the consumer in, or facing, foreclosure. There are multiple additional defenses that can provide substantial defenses to foreclosure, and having an attorney familiar with locating foreclosure defenses is important. Remember, each individual foreclosure situation is different and each requires an independent legal evaluation.

Troy Doucet has been working around the mortgage industry since starting as a loan officer for a lender in 2000. He owned a mortgage firm for several years before law school, audits loans, assists foreclosure defense attorneys nationwide, published two books on laws surrounding mortgage law, and primarily practices in foreclosure defense since graduating from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, magna cum laude. If you would like to speak with Troy Doucet about your case, please contact him at (614) 944-5219 or by using our easy online form.

In the unlikely event that your lender files foreclosure in federal court, these timelines will be different. If you are a tenant living in a property being foreclosed, you may have other rights. A link under the “Resources” page offers tenants additional information if the property owner is facing foreclosure.

Finally, you should NOT move out of your house until this process is complete. You remain the owner until the confirmation of sale, which means you retain ownership and liability for the property until the process is done. Thus, you should maintain the property and keep home owners insurance in place. The best way to accomplish that is usually by remaining in it (which also enables you to save money).