Ask A Lawyer Hotline
Have you ever had a legal question that needed an answer, but nowhere to turn for help? The attorneys at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. have set up an “Ask a Lawyer Hotline” designed to answer pressing legal questions for residents of Central Ohio. The lawyer hotline allows the firm’s team of lawyers to use their experience in a wide range of legal matters to help people get their legal questions answered. The law firm is taking legal questions on the hotline in a range of areas that include mortgage issues, collection harassment, gym cancellations, drafting wills, bad car sales, bedbugs concerns, class action lawsuits, disputes between businesses, and probate legal disputes and issues.
If you want to mediate your dispute in Ohio, you must file a request with the court to protect your rights and prevent the bank from trying to secure a judgment without notifying you. While some courts have automatic stays in place to protect you once you request mediation, we do not recommend you relying on this. We recommend you be on record with the court indicating your desire for mediation.
Requesting mediation in some Ohio counties will automatically extend the deadline for you to respond to the foreclosure lawsuit, so we recommend filing this request if you are proceeding without an attorney. However, be aware that some claims you could bring (TILA rescission, for example) have statutes of limitations that could run out, so seeking the advice of an attorney quickly is advised.
We recommend having your loan evaluated by a knowledgeable attorney before meeting with the bank in mediation, preferably as soon as you know you may be facing foreclosure. Meeting with an attorney will give you a better idea of what your defenses are (potentially creating leverage for you). Also, meeting with an attorney will give you an idea of what you qualify for under HAMP. While some banks and some attorneys will go to great lengths to help you in mediation, others are notorious for being difficult, unknowledgeable, and inefficient.
As a general rule, you should never trust a bank’s offer unless it is in writing. Also, many banks will not stop the foreclosure from proceeding even when you are trying to work on an agreement directly with it. This can create serious legal hurdles for you later, and is another reason why you should consult with an attorney as soon as you think you are at risk for foreclosure.
Ohio Save the Dream
Ohio has an excellent website that provides information for those facing foreclosure. It provides information about budgeting, job loss, and sources of help. It also includes a referral service to locate local attorneys in Ohio who may be able to help. If you are low income or have no income and want to be referred to a legal aid organization for potentially free assistance, this is a great website to start your search. Their telephone number is 888-404-4674.
Local HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies
This website lists the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) approved housing counselors across the United States.
Lost Job Website
If you lost your job, here is a website that offers some basic helpful information.
Columbus, Ohio Home Repair
If your home needs repair and you qualify, the City of Columbus, Ohio may be able to provide you free repairs. This program can replace furnaces, fix plumbing, roofs, and other livability issues at no cost to you. Click on the link to learn more.
Ohio’s Attorney General Complaint Line
We always recommend filing a complaint with your state’s attorney general if a company is trying to take advantage of you, whether it’s in foreclosure or with some other consumer issue. The attorney general’s office compiles these complaints and then decides on which entities to sue based on the number of and severity of the violations consumers report. This is a link to Ohio’s Attorney General.
FTC – Federal Government
If you would like to also complain to the federal banking regulator overseeing your bank or financial institution, these websites give you access to do so, or the names and addresses of the agency overseeing your bank. Generally, we recommend filing your complaint with the attorney general and then these agencies.
Tenant Rights Information
If you are a tenant and your landlord is in foreclosure, you have rights. A new federal law requires any party purchasing the home give you 90-days notice if they intend on evicting you. You might also be able to stay until the end of your lease. Click on the link to learn more.
Consumer Action Handbook
This 172 page handbook covers a host of different consumer related issues. It is published by the federal government and is free to download and order online. The areas covered include buying a car or home, preventing identity theft, understanding credit, and filing a complaint.
Book: 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure by Troy Doucet
Attorney Troy Doucet published 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure in 2008 that is given to new clients. This book breaks down 23 powerful foreclosure defenses into easy-to-understand chapters. Each chapter is packed with useful information that you can use directly in court in any state. The book includes: legal letters, forms, motions, an “Answer” to the lawsuit, and sample discovery to get damaging information directly from the bank. It includes recommended strategies for fighting foreclosure, and checklists that make this book easy enough for anyone to understand. Each chapter incorporates a section of the possible damages available for each defense – including how to cancel the loan and get a refund of all money paid to the lender. Defenses include TILA, HOEPA, RESPA, FDCPA, FCRA and more.
The Legal Aid Society of Columbus provides documents regarding foreclosure lawsuits and court information. There are free directions on how to respond to a foreclosure complaint and sample documents for requesting mediation, motion for extension of time, and a common pleas answer.
Call today for free, or schedule your appointment for a case evaluation online today. (614) 944-5219.