Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Mar 5, 2020

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What should New York homeowners do if threatened with foreclosure? That’s a question on many peoples’ minds these days as the U.S. economy continues to struggle. Our New York legal expert explains the foreclosure process works and provides information on how to avoid it.

Don’t go it alone!

That’s an important piece of advice from Elliot Schlissel, a Lynbrook New York based attorney who has been assisting clients in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County and New York City’s five boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island for over 30 years, who says that going it alone can hurt you in the long run. He explained:

If you own a house, are behind on your mortgage and the bank threatens you with foreclosure, it is extremely important to hire an experienced real estate attorney to deal with the situation. If a bank institutes foreclosure proceedings against you and serves you with a summons and complaint in a foreclosure, you will have either 20 days or 30 days, depending on how you were served, to submit a written answer to the summons and complaint.

At the law office of Elliot Schlissel, our foreclosure defense attorneys have been defending foreclosure proceedings for over three decades. We know how to submit the appropriate responding answers and are very successful in tying up the foreclosures in court for significant periods of time. This gives the homeowner an opportunity to convince the bank to either give them a downward modification of the mortgage (link to article entitled Three Ways For New Yorkers To Modify Their Mortgages) or allow the homeowner to continue to live in the house and have their children continue to attend school in their local school district.

This process of defending a foreclosure proceeding very often causes the case to stay in the courts from one to two years. This gives the homeowner a lot of breathing room, opportunities to sell the house, opportunities to do short sales, opportunities to bring downward modifications and opportunities to find an alternate place to live.

How long does the foreclosure process take?

Foreclosure means the initiation of a lawsuit by the financial institution to get back the house that had been secured by the loan, according to Schlissel, who says that if the homeowner takes no action and does not defend the lawsuit, it proceeds much faster than if the homeowner retains experienced foreclosure defense counsel and fights the proceeding.

Can the homeowner stay in the home during the foreclosure process?

The answer to that question is an absolute’yes,’ according to Schlissel, who told us:

The foreclosure process can be very long. If the homeowner retains counsel, they can, very often, stay in their home for one to two years while the matter is being litigated between the homeowner’s attorney and their bank. We have found that if we vigorously defend foreclosure proceedings, the bank or financial institution sometimes becomes more reasonable about giving the homeowner a mortgage modification that is favorable to the homeowner. It is very important to take a tough stand and vigorously defend foreclosure cases.