Ohio Foreclosure Process
In Ohio, foreclosures are judicial, which means the lender must file a lawsuit in state court. The lender initiates the foreclosure by filing a complaint and having it served on the borrower, along with a summons to appear in court. With Ohio's Foreclosure Mediation Program Model, you may be able to participate in mediation with the lender in an attempt to avoid foreclosure. Contact our attorney at NHS of Greater Cleveland to learn more about participating in Ohio's Foreclosure Mediation Program.
What is Foreclosure Mediation?
Foreclosure mediation is a process that is used to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by coming up with an alternate solution that benefits both the homeowners and the lender. Mediation consists of a meeting between:
- An impartial third-party (the mediator)
At the meeting, the parties discuss the homeowner's financial situation and try to negotiate a way for the homeowner to keep their home or give up the property without going through a foreclosure. By working together, the parties are often able to reach an agreement.
Goal of Mediation
To provide the parties an opportunity to resolve their foreclosure case by agreement, instead of having the Court decide. In mediation, an impartial mediator will conduct a process where the parties will discuss and evaluate their interests and concerns so each party is able to determine whether their interests are best met through an agreement. Potential outcomes of mediation include:
- Deed in lieu of foreclosure
Is the Foreclosure Mediation Program Right for You?
Even though participation in a mediation program does not guarantee that a foreclosure will be avoided, it does not hurt to try. The lender may be more likely to agree to a non-foreclosure solution during mediation rather than if you approached them outside of the program. Or you might qualify for a loss mitigation option that you hadn't previously considered.
How Do I Request Mediation of my Foreclosure Case?
When a Foreclosure action is filed against you, you will receive a Summons and Complaint from the Court in the mail. Make sure to open your mail. Inside you will find information about legal assistance, financial counseling, and a Request for Mediation form. Complete the Request for Mediation form and return it to the Court at the address listed on the Request. You may fax, mail, or hand-deliver your Request to the Mediation Department.
If your case is currently pending, you may file a motion to request mediation or attend a hearing and ask the Magistrate to refer your case to mediation. In addition, the Magistrate handling your file may directly refer the case to mediation. See the links below to learn more about Mediation Programs throughout northeast Ohio.
Review of Request for Mediation
- The Foreclosure Mediator will review your Request.
- Interested in keeping your property? If your monthly income meets or exceeds your monthly expenses, you may be eligible for mediation.
- Not interested in keeping your property? You may still be eligible for mediation even if your monthly income does not meet your monthly expenses.
If Your Request for Mediation is Denied
- Your case will be returned to the Foreclosure Docket for further proceedings
- Should your financial circumstances change in the future you may request the Magistrate to make a referral to mediation at that time
- You may also complete a new Request for Mediation
While the mediation is pending, there is no official postponement of the foreclosure action or the homeowner's time to answer the foreclosure complaint. If the homeowner wants to stop the process, the homeowner must officially request a stay by filing a motion. If your case is accepted into the Mediation Program, a Pre-Meditation Conference (PMC) will be set. At the PMC you will be given a list of financial documents to provide. Failure to attend the PMC or to provide the requested documents may result in the termination of the mediation process.
Who Must Participate in the Mediation Session?
The homeowner(s), lender, and the homeowner's attorney must participate in the mediation sessions. During sessions, all parties sit at the table as equals in a discussion.
If you satisfy the requirements of the PMC, a Mediation hearing will be held. At the Mediation hearing, a representative from the Plaintiff/Lender will be present and your attendance is also required. If the case settles at the initial mediation session or any subsequent mediation hearing, the appropriate paperwork to dispose of the case will be filed. If the case does not settle, the file will be returned to the Foreclosure Magistrate for further Court proceedings.
History of Ohio's Mediation Programs
In December 2007, Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer proposed that courts manage the increasing number of foreclosure cases being filed in Ohio by developing foreclosure mediation programs. Feb. 7, 2008 he made an announcement to the Ohio Associated Press writers and editors that a model program had been sent to Ohio courts to use mediation in home foreclosure cases.
“Mediation will assist courts in managing the explosion of foreclosure cases on their dockets for a more efficient administration of justice while assisting Ohio’s most vulnerable homeowners facing the prospect of losing their homes,” Chief Justice Moyer said. “I am calling on all judges in Ohio who have jurisdiction over foreclosure cases to utilize the model in their courtroom by modifying it to meet the needs and resources of their communities.”
To find Mediation resources not listed above, go to the Supreme Court’s Web site and click on“Ohio Foreclosure Mediation Contact Information by County” which will give you the contact information for your county. If you have questions, contact the Dispute Resolution Section at 614.387.9420.
Help is only a phone call away. Please contact Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland today at (216) 458-4663 to understand your options if you are facing foreclosure.