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Foreclosure Settlement Conferences

The Court mails you a date, time and place for a settlement conference. The Court date is sometime during the first two months after the plaintiff files proof of service and a RJI. A settlement conference is a meeting between you, someone from the Court (a Judge, Court Attorney, or Court Referee), and the plaintiff. The meeting is to talk about your case and to see if your foreclosure can be resolved. For example, you might see if the terms of the loan can be changed so you can afford to pay each month. Read the law: CPLR 3408.

Even if you go to the settlement conference you still need to Answer the Summons and Complaint. If you go to the first settlement conference, you have an extra 30 days to file your Answer.

 

Getting Ready

It is important to prepare for the settlement conference. Meet with a free Housing Counselor. Find one here, in New York City, call 311. Try to figure out your budget and what you can afford to pay. This way you have the best chance of saving your home.

You must bring copies of your financial papers to the conference, like pay stubs, benefits information, list of monthly expenses, mortgage statement, proof of any rental income, property tax statements, income tax return, proposals to change your loan terms, and any information about attempts to work out a settlement before.

Go to the conference even if you have not prepared.

 

The Settlement Conference

Get to the court early because you may have to wait on a line to go through security. Listen for your name to be called. At the first settlement conference, if you have not filed an Answer, the court will explain that you have an additional 30 days to Answer the Summons and Complaint. The court will give you an information packet containing an information sheet about Answering a Foreclosure Complaint, an Answer Form, an Affidavit of Service, a Consumer Bill of Rights, and a list of foreclosure resources.

You and the plaintiff will talk with the court about settlement options, like paying the money owed over time, changing loan terms, selling at a short sale or agreeing to a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Plaintiff must bring copies of the mortgage and note, loan modification forms, a description of other loss mitigation options (alternatives to foreclosure), a copy of the Pooling and Service Agreement if there are investor restrictions, a list of missing documents, and any denial letters, to the conference.

If you and the plaintiff work out a settlement, it will be put in writing and signed by everyone and the case will be over. Read more about Settlements. If you don’t settle the case, you may get a new date to come back to court to continue the settlement conference. This may happen a few times.

If you filed an Answer and you and the plaintiff do not work out a settlement, the case is not over. You and the other side start Discovery. You and the plaintiff may work out a time line to exchange information. If you don’t file an Answer within 30 days of the first settlement conference and you can’t settle the case, the plaintiff can get a default judgment against you and you can lose your home.

 
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