What constitutes as wrongful foreclosure?

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2019 | Consumer Protection |

If you receive a foreclosure notice, you may rack your brain for ideas on how you can save your Wisconsin home. You may also wonder where you went wrong. The truth is that you may have done nothing wrong, and that your foreclosure notice may be the result of fraudulent behavior on the part of the lender, its attorneys or its consultants.

According to SFGate, wrongful foreclosure is a civil action based on the belief that the foreclosure proceedings are the result of fraud. The foreclosure process is a lengthy one, and one in which several entities are involved. Because of this, fraud can occur across several touchpoints, thereby making it difficult for homeowners to spot.

One of the most common types of foreclosure fraud involves forgery. For your lender to begin foreclosure proceedings against your home, the courts require you to sign a stack of documents indicating you understand the process and your rights and responsibilities. Sometimes, companies that process foreclosures submit documents that bear false signatures, or signatures that do not actually belong to the homeowner. If this occurs, you may be able to pursue civil remedies via a wrongful foreclosure action as well as criminal penalties for forgery.

In Wisconsin and other states in which the law requires the courts to oversee foreclosure proceedings, lenders and banks must present an affidavit to the judge confirming that a homeowner did, in fact, default on a valid loan agreement. To certify this, lenders must review all relevant documents and provide hard proof, such as the amount of the default and the remaining balance on the loan. It is not uncommon for bank employees to blindly sign off on a stack of documents without actually checking to ensure they are accurate and honest. The courts refer to this practice as robo-signing, an act that could amount to submitting a false affidavit.

Per the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, members of the U.S. military are privy to certain protections that lenders must honor. For instance, if you are an active duty member of the military, your lender must grant you an additional nine months to get current on your account. If your lender proceeds with the foreclosure process within that nine months, you may have a case of wrongful foreclosure.

Finally, if lenders stray from state procedure at any point during the foreclosure process, the courts may have no choice but to deem the foreclosure invalid. That said, for the courts to rule in your favor, the mistake must have caused you some type of harm.

This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.