Many Long Island residents, who are struggling with debt and trying to save their homes from foreclosure, may feel that the game is rigged against them. Unfortunately, they may be right.
Residents of New York are probably aware of the changes in foreclosure rates over the past few years. Foreclosure rates are rising by a huge amount in New York City, even as they fall nationwide. According to a report by the real estate industry group RealtyTrac, foreclosure rates nationwide were down 23 percent in April from the year before, to their lowest level since February 2007.
New York homeowners are still struggling with mortgage payments even as the nation appears to be slowly recovering from the burst of the housing bubble. Nationwide, foreclosures fell 29 percent in February from their level a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac. They also fell 11 percent from January's level. Foreclosure rates now stand at their lowest level since 2007.
As Long Island families facing foreclosure battle endlessly with mortgage lenders, they may feel like characters in a frustrating financial drama. In such situations, homeowners are easily overwhelmed due to limited knowledge of the legal process and the timeline for finalizing a foreclosure. Requirements to complete the process vary from state to state, so people who want to stop home foreclosures should become familiar with local laws to avoid rapid property loss.
Very few people buy a home anticipating foreclosure. However, circumstances can create a situation where an otherwise-solvent family can suddenly struggle to pay bills, particularly where the home suffers from severe damage due to a natural disaster. Combine this with additional issues, including issues with building permits, and families in New York can experience foreclosure nightmares.
Foreclosure is a disheartening reality for people suffering from financial challenges due to unemployment, natural disaster, medical expenses and other unpredictable circumstances. Regardless of past payment history, a homeowner's sudden inability to make mortgage payments can lead to lengthy court battles and even eviction. The combination of a failing housing market and a devastating natural disaster has left numerous Long Island homeowners struggling to stop home foreclosure as the state deals with an overwhelming backlog of cases.
Even after doing everything right, homeowners can find themselves thrust into unforeseen economic hardships due to any number of reasons, from illness to unemployment. Missed payments can lead to mortgage lenders initiating court proceedings for home foreclosure. Each state has a different foreclosure process, and this can have an effect on statistical reports. Many people living in neighboring states commute to New York City for work, so their economic success is intertwined with that of the city.
If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable.
Foreclosures, which are often followed by evictions, have been one of the most devastating consequences of the housing market crash. Natural disasters can make the foreclosure process even more trying for affected families. Fortunately, lenders sometimes halt foreclosures after natural disasters.
Three organizations have issued a warning to Long Island homeowners regarding con artists who falsely promise to stop home foreclosure. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the New York state attorney general's office and Long Island Housing Services Inc., some creditors have been dishonest by "giving the false impression that they are affiliated with government programs, charging illegal up-front fees and executing fraudulent lease-back financing schemes."