web analytics

Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce

Addressing foreclosures in Dane County, WI through prevention, intervention and stabilization

Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce - Addressing foreclosures in Dane County, WI through prevention, intervention and stabilization

Foreclosure assistance clinic on Tuesday mornings

Homeowners in foreclosure can still receive free legal help at the Foreclosure Assistance Clinic, which meets on Tuesdays from 9-11 am at the Dane County Courthouse, 215 S. Hamilton St., Room L1007 (inside the Legal Resource Center). No appointment is necessary. Please bring your legal papers to the session. Volunteer lawyers and trained law students from the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Consumer Law Clinic will provide homeowners with basic information about the foreclosure process and help them respond to the foreclosure lawsuit.

Note: You can call the Legal Resource Center at 608-266-6316 to confirm that the clinic will be open before you travel. The clinic goes on hiatus for short periods between UW Law School sessions. When the clinic is not available, homeowners should contact the State Bar’s Lawyer Referral & Information Service at 800-362-9082 (regular cost attorneys) or apply for help through the State Bar’s Modest Means Panel (reduced cost attorneys if you qualify).

Tax break for 2014 debt forgiveness extended

As part of its end of the year budget deal, Congress extended an important tax break for homeowners who benefited from mortgage debt forgiveness in 2014. As The Washington Post reports, extending the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act through Dec. 31, 2014 will be a big relief for qualifying homeowners:

The federal tax code treats forgiven debt as ordinary income to the borrower, taxable at regular rates. But under an exception that took effect in 2007, qualified home mortgage debt that is canceled by a lender as part of a short sale, loan modification or foreclosure is treated as nontaxable. However, that exception expired at the end of 2013 and its renewal had been in doubt for all of 2014, leaving short-sellers such as Foster unsure whether they would be facing crushing taxes in 2015.

You can find additional information about the tax consequences of mortgage debt forgiveness on the Internal Revenue Service website.

Loan servicing issues and scams are still a concern

As the New York Times recently noted, there is a new surge in problems with home loan servicers that may affect Dane County homeowners:

A growing number of homeowners trying to avert foreclosure are confronting problems on a new front as the mortgage industry undergoes a seismic shift.

Shoddy paperwork, erroneous fees and wrongful evictions — the same abuses that dogged the nation’s largest banks and led to a $26 billion settlement with federal authorities in 2012 — are now cropping up among the specialty firms that collect mortgage payments, according to dozens of foreclosure lawsuits and interviews with borrowers, federal and state regulators and housing lawyers.

If you are a Dane County homeowner experiencing these sorts of problems with your loan servicing company, contact us and we will do our best to connect you with helpful resources.

Homeowners should also continue to be wary of any organizations that are offering mortgage “rescue” services to homeowners for a fee. Check with Loan Scam Alert. You can also contact the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council for help filing a complaint against a loan scam company.

When Paying the Mortgage is a Struggle

The possibility of losing your home because you can’t make the mortgage payments can be terrifying. Perhaps you’re having trouble making ends meet because you or a family member lost a job, or you’re having other financial problems. Or maybe you’re one of the many consumers who took out a mortgage that had a fixed rate for the first two or three years and then had an adjustable rate – and you want to know what your payments will be and whether you’ll be able to make them.

Regardless of the reason for your mortgage anxiety, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know how to help save your home, and how to recognize and avoid foreclosure scams. Continue reading