A Drastic Spike in New York Foreclosure Rates May Lead to Possible Protections and New Regulations for Homeowners

By Robert Jacovetti

The Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) was a program designed to lower an individual’s monthly mortgage payment, resulting in a more affordable payment over the long term, and, ultimately, a decrease in foreclosures. This program worked by adjusting the interest rate and extending the duration of the mortgage.

Typically, a homeowner would save about $500 per month through HAMP. This program, which offered interest rates as low as two percent, ended on December 31, 2016. In October 2016, the number of foreclosures in New York increased drastically. There was a 32 percent increase in foreclosures from September 2016 to October 2016. During the month of October 2016, more than 1,100 homes went into foreclosure in New York City. Due to the termination of HAMP, New York residents are likely to see a continued rise in the foreclosure rates in 2017.

In response to the growing number of foreclosures, Governor Andrew Cuomo and other lawmakers are now making foreclosure reform a priority. Even though many people believe that the foreclosure crisis has ended, there are still many individuals involved in ongoing negotiations with their lenders.

Many people are hopeful that Governor Cuomo’s plans to update these regulations will decrease, or even prevent, foreclosures. One of Governor Cuomo’s main areas of focus is on reverse mortgage holders. A reverse mortgage is a mortgage that may be secured by an individual who is 62 years of age or older. It allows the individual to remain in their home as he or she continues to age. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it turns one’s equity into cash without them having to sell his or her home. According to Governor Cuomo, reverse mortgage borrowers are not granted the same protections as other homeowners, and seniors are often the targets of financial exploitation leading to foreclosure.

Under current New York State law, protections available to homeowners, including settlement conferences which are provided to individuals facing foreclosure, are not provided to homeowners with a reverse mortgage. Governor Cuomo has proposed to change this to provide mandatory foreclosure settlement conferences to reverse mortgage holders and their lenders. This will allow homeowners the ability to have a physical meeting with their lenders under the supervision of the court, which was difficult to arrange in the past.

According to the New York Post, individuals like Frederick Feil of Howard Beach are hopeful for reform. Mr. Feil has missed mortgage payments due to illness and is still in the process of negotiating with his lender to allow him to catch up on the payments he missed so that he does not lose his home. Like Mr. Feil, many other homeowners remain hopeful that, with the support of Governor Cuomo, additional protections against foreclosure will be afforded to homeowners in this year.

The experienced attorneys at Robert Jacovetti, P.C. can negotiate terms with mortgage companies on your behalf during a time that is not only stressful, but also very emotional. By having knowledgeable and experienced attorneys on your side, you are able to save time, money, and, ultimately, your home. If you are not up-to-date on your mortgage payments or are facing foreclosure on your home, contact the Law Office of Robert Jacovetti for assistance.