How to Stop a Sheriff’s Sale in Ohio
Outside of bankruptcy, stopping a foreclosure sale in Ohio requires a judge’s order. Bankruptcy automatically halts all creditor actions and will freeze the foreclosure case preventing the sheriff’s sale (we have a lawyer who can help with bankruptcy). If you want to avoid filing bankruptcy, then you must seek relief from the judge presiding over the foreclosure action, which means presenting a strong legal basis for reopening the case. Or, you can try to convince the bank to stop the sale itself, usually by applying for a loan modification.
While we discuss several options below, the only guaranteed way of stopping a sheriff’s sale in Ohio is to file bankruptcy. Both Chapter 7 (total release of debts) and Chapter 13 (repayment plan lasting 3 to 5 years) provide for an immediate halting of all creditor actions, including stopping a foreclosure sheriff’s sale. Call our firm for your free bankruptcy appointment by calling (614) 944-5219. The sheriff sale is stopped the very minute you file your bankruptcy petition, even if that filing is the morning of the sheriff sale (just make sure you file a notice with the foreclosure court).Our law firm can help you with this, or any option below if you want to avoid a bankrutpcy filing.
If bankruptcy is not an option for you, then you will need to file motions with the state court judge to stop the sheriff’s sale.There are several kinds of motions available to you, and which one you use is a factor of where your case is procedurally. The Civil Rule that governs will likely be 60(B), which is discussed more below.
You need to know the following first. In Ohio, a sheriff’s sale means the mortgage company filed a foreclosure lawsuit against you and obtained judgment on the note and mortgage.The sheriff sale is merely a procedural mechanism to enforce a judgment, which means that the underlying judgment should be addressed in any motion you file to stop a sheriff’s sale.This kind of motion is where you tell legal reasons the judge why the underlying judgment needs to be reversed; it is not an opportunity to tell the court the circumstances or hardship that caused you to stop making payments (unless it was the bank’s fault).
While you may have a truly heart-wrenching story, the judge will be obligated to keep the sale in place unless you can show some legal reason or procedural defect that requires the judge reopen your case.If you were working directly with your mortgage company and the promised you a loan modification that never materialized, this would be a good legal reason.However, describing your job loss or health issues – while completely good reasons why you couldn’t make payments – will generally not win the day. A better reason would be that the underlying judgment is void because the bank did not own the note, or some other reason that goes to jurisdiction of the court.
Filing an appeal is generally not a good enough reason to stop a sheriff’s sale, although you can file a “Motion to Stay Execution of Judgment” if your appeal is timely and you want your case reviewed by the Court of Appeals before the sheriff sale.Judges have very wide discretion in whether to grant these, and many times the court will require you post a bond in order to obtain one.As you will find out, surety bond companies generally want 100% cash collateral for the bond. Appeals need to be filed within very short time frames, so it would be important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible after judgment is rendered.
If you did not file an appeal of the final judgment and need to stop a sheriff’s sale, then you will need to find another legal reason why the sale should be stopped.This generally requires that you attack the underlying judgment or seek to have the judgment reversed.While we would recommend you contact an attorney to help determine your chances of success here, the procedural mechanism in Ohio to reopen the case is a “Motion for Relief From Judgment” pursuant to Ohio Civil Rule of Procedure 60(B).The rule, as analyzed by the Supreme Court of Ohio, requires you show three things:1. That you state one of the grounds under Rule 60(B), such as excusable neglect under 60(B)(1); 2. That you show a meritorious defense or claim is available to you if the judgment is reversed; and 3. That your motion for relief from judgment is timely. All three things must be discussed in any motion for relief from judgment. Call us for an appointment if you need help reopening your foreclosure case. (614) 944-5219.
Any motion for relief from judgment needs to contain all three arguments, as leaving one out is grounds to have your motion denied.In addition to this kind of motion, you will probably want to file a “Motion to Stay Sheriff’s Sale” and argue that the sale should be stopped until the court rules on your motion for relief from judgment.Sometimes the judge will stop the sale and allow it to be rescheduled if the judge rules against your motion for relief from judgment.
There may be other motions that are appropriate in your case, depending on the circumstances present in your matter.For example, if you were not served the lawsuit it accordance with Ohio law, that can be a powerful reason for a judge to grant you relief from judgment and stop the sheriff’s sale. Similarly, if the property is actually located in a different county, that can be a powerful reason to reopen the case and stop a sheriff’s sale.
If you need a sheriff sale stopped immediately, you should contact a lawyer as soon as you finish reading this post because time is of the essence. You not only need to decide on a lawyer, but the lawyer will need to meet with you, gather documents and information from you, then write and file the motion(s). The faster you can get into see a lawyer, the faster he or she can work to stop your sheriff’s sale.