Find Mediator by Practice Area:
Find International Mediators:
Find Mediator by State:
Find Mediator by City:
Update on Home Foreclosure Mediation
Here is another in a series of updates on the development of foreclosure mediation in the U.S. from Mediate.com News Editor, Keith Seat.
- Washington state’s new Foreclosure Fairness Act took effect on July 22, mandating mediation when homeowners request it and requiring a decision-maker for the lender to be present at the mediation or available by phone. KUOW.org (July 22, 2011); KPLU.org (July 21, 2011)
- The city council of Washington, D.C. enacted emergency legislation to amend its foreclosure mediation law to remove a controversial clause that stated any violation of the law would void a foreclosure sale. Concerns over the clause had caused title insurers to stop insuring sales of foreclosed homes. Washington Post (July 13, 2011)
- The Springfield, Massachusetts city council has passed a tough anti-foreclosure ordinance requiring mortgage lenders to mediate with homeowners or pay a $300/day fine. It awaits signature by the mayor. Boston Herald.com (August 23, 2011)
- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court encourages counties in the state to establish foreclosure mediation programs and a number have done so. Over the two years that Lackawanna County court has conducted foreclosure mediations, 53% of the mediations have been successful, 17% have failed and 30% are pending. Cumberland County now seeks to begin a foreclosure mediation program, which is likely to be similar to other counties and require homeowners facing foreclosure to request mediation within a certain time after receiving notice about the program. Penn Live.com (July 28, 2011)
- A new online portal going live in October will allow Maryland homeowners in foreclosure mediation to exchange documents electronically with their mortgage lenders faster and easier, and help the state track the progress of foreclosure mediations. But the foreclosure mediation process is not accomplishing much in Maryland, as fewer than 1,000 homeowners have applied for mediation over the last year and only about 210 have received a loan modification or contingent resolution, while tens of thousands are receiving foreclosure notices. Washington Business Journal (August 17, 2011); The Final Call (August 3, 2011)
- Interpreting the Nevada Foreclosure Mediation statute and rules, the Nevada Supreme Court held that the lower court should have imposed sanctions against a lender that the mediator reported did not bring required documents to the mediation and did not have access to someone with authority to modify the loan during the mediation. Pasillas v. HSBC Bank USA, No. 56393 (Nev., July 7, 2011). In a companion case, the Nevada Supreme Court concluded that a homeowner who recorded a quitclaim deed and took over mortgage payments was entitled to mediate even though he did not expressly assume the mortgage note. The court further held that the lender failed to comply with the Nevada Foreclosure Mediation statute and rules by not providing all required documentation and that “substantial compliance” is not sufficient to avoid sanctions. Leyva v. National Default Servicing Corp., No. 55216 (Nev., July 7, 2011).
- New Hampshire’s foreclosure mediation program is voluntary for both homeowners and lenders, causing difficulty in getting parties into mediation. After 18 months, only 100 cases have entered the program, of which 60% are still in the pipeline. But better results may be coming as judges are beginning to order parties into mediation. Union Leader.com (July 16, 2011)
- Arizona State University’s law school seeks to address the home foreclosure crisis through a program in which students will mediate mortgage related disputes. The program is funded by a grant from the Arizona attorney general’s office and will begin in Spring 2012. AZ Central.com (July 22, 2011)
Keith L. Seat is a full-time mediator and arbitrator who can effectively assist parties in resolving a wide range of telecommunications, antitrust and other commercial disputes. With over twenty years of legal experience as a mediator, arbitrator, litigator, advocate before executive branch agencies, and key staffer in the legislative and judicial branches, Mr. Seat brings a wealth of experience to his work as a mediator and arbitrator to help parties reach successful resolutions of complex disputes.
Mr. Seat began his legal career in a federal clerkship with U.S. District Judge William H. Becker, and then litigated antitrust and commercial disputes for many years at a major Washington law firm, Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White, where he first worked on telecom and technology issues. In 1993, Mr. Seat was named General Counsel of the Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he served for four years, playing a significant role in the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Returning to the private sector in 1997, Mr. Seat rounded out his experience with a senior in-house counsel position at MCI, one of the nation’s largest telecommunications firms. At MCI, he gained a first-hand appreciation for the important perspective brought to issues and disputes by in-house decision-makers. Mr. Seat also deepened his knowledge of telecom issues and gained experience addressing competition-related issues in the corporate setting, as well as helping resolve disputes among large organizations.
Additional articles by Keith Seat