Provo is the third-largest city in Utah, United States. It is 43 miles (69 km) south of Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front. Provo is the largest city and county seat of Utah County. It is home to Brigham Young University, and Sundance Resort is located just northeast of the city. While Father Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, a Spanish Franciscan missionary-explorer, is considered the first European visitor to the area that would become Provo, the first permanent settlement was established in 1849 as Fort Utah. The name was changed to “Provo” in 1850, in honor of Étienne Provost, an early French-Canadian trapper. Provo’s climate lies in the transition zone between a humid subtropical climate and humid continental climate, with high temperatures averaging between about 94 °F or 34.4 °C in the summer and 40 °F or 4.4 °C in the winter. Average annual precipitation (rain and snow) is just less than 20 inches (51 cm). The population of Provo has grown from 2030 in 1860 to an estimated 116,702 in 2018. The 2010 census showed slightly more females than males, with over 55% of the population living as couples, and almost 35% of households having children under the age of 18. The population is over 90% Christian, with almost 89% being Latter Day Saints.
The economy in Provo is powered by many different businesses and organizations, including over 100 restaurants, two shopping malls, multiple universities and colleges, a number of small companies, and several large international businesses. Utah Valley Hospital is a Level II Trauma Center, and has several campuses of medical professionals surrounding it. America’s Freedom Festival at Provo, held every May through July, is one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in the United States. Several cultural points of interest in the city include the Covey Center for the Arts, the LDS Missionary Training Center, and the Provo City Library at Academy Square. Provo contains two LDS temples: Provo Utah Temple and Provo City Center Temple, the latter being restored from the ruins of the Provo Tabernacle. The Utah Valley Convention Center is also located in downtown Provo. There are several museums located on the campus of Brigham Young University. Natural features include Bridal Veil Falls, Provo River, Utah Lake and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Timpanogos Cave National Monument is located several miles north of Provo. A number of national historic landmarks are located within Provo, including the Reed O. Smoot House. Provo is served by Utah Transit Authority, operator of the FrontRunner commuter rail and a bus service connected to the rest of the Wasatch Front. Amtrak stops at Provo station, providing daily access to its California Zephyr service. Interstate 15, U.S. 89 and U.S. 189 provide major road service to Provo. Air transportation is available at Utah’s second busiest airport, Provo Municipal Airport.
How Can a Lawyer Stop a Foreclosure
The idea of losing your home to foreclosure is terrifying. A lawyer’s expertise can provide you peace of mind throughout the stressful process — but coming up with the funds for a lawyer when you are struggling to keep your home is often a challenge. You may wonder if it is really worth the cost. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to stop foreclosure, or at least buy you more time. Even if you can’t keep the home, a lawyer might be able to help you escape the liability associated with foreclosure.
Reviewing Your Loan Documents
A lawyer can review your loan and address any unfair or predatory lending practices. For instance, a lender may improperly file a foreclosure or make errors in the loan documents at closing. According to the federal Truth in Lending Act, even a slight mistake in calculating your annual percentage rate could result in a violation of the act, giving you the right to rescind the loan. Rescinding basically allows you to cancel the loan.
Advocating on Your Behalf
A real estate lawyer is an expert on state foreclosure laws. The lawyer can explain your rights, the process, and any available prevention methods. Your lawyer can also negotiate directly with the bank on your behalf to reach a solution outside of court. Possible options include a loan modification, short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure. Having a lawyer fighting on your side improves your chances of having effective communication with the bank. You’re less likely to get lost in the shuffle or thrown on the back burner.
Filing a Legal Response
If you are in a state that requires judicial foreclosures, the lender must file a lawsuit against you to foreclose. Once you are served with papers, you have a certain number of days to respond. The legal terminology is often overwhelming. A lawyer can explain the paperwork and file your answer to the complaint with an appropriate defense. The lawyer may even file a counter claim, counter-suing the lender for violations of the law.
Bankruptcy can temporarily stop a foreclosure. It is always best to consult a lawyer if you are considering bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the form of bankruptcy used to wipe the slate clean. Filing automatically stops the foreclosure clock. You can’t keep the home permanently, but your liability is released. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt is restructured to make your payments more affordable. If you can afford to resume making your normal mortgage payment, the arrears may be reduced. Debt must be paid to the trustee through a monthly repayment plan. Bankruptcy is complicated and certain eligibility requirements must be met. The attorney can guide you through the process and paperwork. If you are considering bankruptcy, it can be used as a defense in your foreclosure response.
Last Minute Strategies to Stop Foreclosure
If you’re facing foreclosure, you might be able to stop the process by filing for bankruptcy, applying for a loan modification, or filing a lawsuit.
If you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments and a foreclosure sale is looming in the very near future, you might still be able to save your home. You can potentially file bankruptcy, apply for a loan modification or other workout option, or file suit against the foreclosing party (the “bank”) to possibly stop the foreclosure entirely, or at least delay the process.
File for Bankruptcy to Stop the Foreclosure
If the foreclosure sale is scheduled to occur in the next few days, you can halt the sale immediately by filing for bankruptcy. The automatic stay will stop the foreclosure in its tracks. Once you file for bankruptcy, something called an “automatic stay” immediately goes into effect. The stay functions as an injunction prohibiting the bank from foreclosing on your home or otherwise trying to collect its debt. This means that any foreclosure activity must be halted during the bankruptcy process. The bank may file a motion for relief from the stay. The bank might attempt to have the stay lifted by filing a motion seeking permission from the court to continue with the foreclosure. Even if the bankruptcy court grants this motion and allows the foreclosure to proceed, the foreclosure will be delayed at least a month or two. This should provide you with time to explore alternatives to foreclosure with your bank.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy vs. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you want to keep your home, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy might help you accomplish this goal. But if you’re simply trying to buy some time by stalling the foreclosure, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be right for you.
Benefits of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you keep your home by restructuring your debts. You will repay debts—some in part and some in full—over a period of three to five years as part of a repayment plan. You might be able to avoid foreclosure and remain in your home with this type of bankruptcy because you can repay any delinquent mortgage payments through the plan. Also, you will likely pay a fraction (or sometimes, none) of your unsecured debts during the plan period and possibly eliminate certain other debts—like underwater second and third mortgages because they’re considered unsecured loans—entirely when you complete your plan, freeing up money for your first mortgage. Even if you can’t complete the plan, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy will give you at least several months before a foreclosure can be completed.
Benefits of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy
If you’re already in foreclosure, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy isn’t usually a good way to save your home, but it will delay the foreclosure proceedings and provide you with time to live in the home without making payments. You can put this money towards saving up for a rental. You can also use this time to try to work with the bank to come up with a way to avoid foreclosure. And, even if you still go through a foreclosure, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy will eliminate your personal liability for the mortgage debt, which means you won’t be liable for any deficiency remaining after the foreclosure.
Apply for a Loan Modification
While you don’t want to wait until the last minute with this option, you might be able delay a foreclosure by applying for a loan modification, or another foreclosure avoidance option, because the bank could be restricted from dual tracking. Dual tracking is when the bank proceeds with the foreclosure while a loss mitigation application is pending. Ultimately, if your modification application is approved, the foreclosure will be permanently stopped so long as you keep up with the modified payments.
Federal Rules Restrict Dual Tracking
Under federal law, if a complete loss mitigation application is received more than 37 days before a foreclosure sale, the servicer may not move for a foreclosure judgment or order of sale, or conduct a foreclosure sale, until:
• the servicer informs the borrower that the borrower is not eligible for any loss mitigation option (and any appeal has been exhausted)
• the borrower rejects all loss mitigation offers, or
• the borrower fails to comply with the terms of a loss mitigation option such as a trial modification.
Be aware that the servicer generally doesn’t have to review more than one loss mitigation application from you. But if you bring the loan current after submitting an application, the servicer must consider it.
File a Lawsuit to Stop the Foreclosure
If your bank is using a non-judicial process to foreclose—where the foreclosure is completed outside of the court system—then you might be able to delay or stop the foreclosure by filing a lawsuit against the bank to challenge the foreclosure. This tactic normally won’t work if the foreclosure is judicial because by the time of a foreclosure sale, you’ve already had your opportunity to be heard in court.
To prevail in your lawsuit against your bank, you’ll need to prove to the satisfaction of the court that the foreclosure should not take place because, for example, the foreclosing bank:
• can’t prove it owns the promissory note
• didn’t act in compliance with state mediation requirements
• violated the state’s Homeowner Bill of Rights
• didn’t follow all of the required steps in the foreclosure process (as determined by state law), or
• made some other grievous error.
The downside to suing your bank is that if you’re unable to prove your case, this will only delay the foreclosure process. Lawsuits can be expensive and, if you have no reasonable basis for your claims, you could get stuck paying the bank’s court costs and attorneys’ fees.
If you’re facing an imminent foreclosure sale and considering any of the options discussed in this article, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a local foreclosure attorney or bankruptcy attorney immediately. To get information about different loss mitigation options, you should also consider talking to a HUD-approved housing counselor.
Important Questions To Ask A Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
To determine which foreclosure defense attorney is a good fit for your case, you will need to ask them several questions. The most important of these, and the answers you should be looking for, are listed below.
How Many Foreclosure Cases Have You Litigated in Court?
Utah is a judicial foreclosure state, meaning that in order to foreclose, a lender must file a lawsuit against the borrower and take them to court. It is important to ask if a foreclosure defense lawyer has been in court and litigated against the big mortgage companies. Filing a bankruptcy case is not the same thing as litigating in court, and you want to make sure that your attorney has the experience necessary to give you the best chance possible in the event that you have to defend your case in court.
Is Litigation the Best Defense for Foreclosure?
Although you want to make sure that your lawyer has experience litigating foreclosure cases in court, it is just as important to understand that this may not be the best route for you. If you are a victim of fraud or illegitimate fees and charges, you probably will have to go through litigation. On the other hand, if there is a better option for you, such as filing for bankruptcy, you want to work with a lawyer who will advise you of this option.
How Often Do You Attend Classes and Seminars Regarding Foreclosures?
The law surrounding car accidents has not changed in decades; however, the laws surrounding foreclosures changes all the time. Foreclosure cases that were handled five years ago must be handled much differently now. You want to ensure that you are working with an attorney who keeps up with these changing laws, as they are very relevant to your case. If you work with a lawyer who is not familiar with these laws, it will pose serious problems for your defense and you could end up losing your home.
Are You Licensed to Practice?
You may think that if you are speaking to a foreclosure defense lawyer, they are surely licensed to practice in the state. This is a mistake. Some lawyers have viewed the foreclosure crisis as an opportunity to bring in more business, even though they cannot legally practice law in the state. These lawyers may be able to negotiate with lenders for you but, if your case ends up in court, which many do, you could find yourself in a great deal of trouble. You will have to find a new lawyer and by that point, you may be running out of time in your case. At Ascent Law, we only have Utah licensed attorneys working as lawyers on your case.
What Approach Do You Use When Defending a Foreclosure Case?
There is more than one approach that can be used when defending a foreclosure. You can fight to stay in your home and obtain a loan modification, you can file for bankruptcy, or you can present your lender with the idea of a short sale. These are just a few options you have if a lender starts foreclosure proceedings against you. A lawyer may suggest all of these, or they may only suggest one. You want to ensure that a lawyer will present you with many different options, even if they make a recommendation for one in particular. If you end up working with an attorney who treats all foreclosures the same, that approach may not be the right one for your case and you could find yourself in a bigger mess than when you began, such as if you filed for bankruptcy when you did not have to.
How Often Will You Update Me About My Case?
It is a huge relief to hand your case over to an experienced attorney and know that they will take care of all the details associated with it. However, any attorney should still keep you up to date on the status of your case and any changes with it as soon as they occur. One of the most common complaints against lawyers is that they take a case and then the client rarely hears from them. When they do get an update on their case or have a question, they only communicate is with a paralegal or an associate. While lawyers need these professionals to help them with cases, you should still mainly be working and communicating with the attorney you spoke with during your free consultation. If you are not, your case may not be getting the attention it deserves.
Provo Utah Foreclosure Attorney
When you need a foreclosure lawyer in Provo Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506