- Understand that an account that is charged-off does not mean the debt may not be collected later.
- Negotiate with your lenders, to avoid foreclosure.
I have not paid my mortgage in 9 months -- no foreclosure yet. I am getting calls from a collection agent. What are my rights?
I am over nine months behind on a mortgaged rental property due to tenants failing to pay their rent. I owe $200,000. I was expecting the property to be foreclosed on as this is the first and only mortgage, but Chase has opted to charge-off the debt. I am very confused by this. Now I am receiving calls from a collections agency. I live in New York and the property is in MA. I cannot afford to pay the balance. What options do I have? Can I be sued or my wages be garnished? Also what happens to the property which is now vacant? Lastly, what state guidelines should I follow, MA or NY?
A mortgage is a written pledge of property used as security for the repayment of a loan. The property you purchase is the collateral for the mortgage. If you fail to make payments on the loan, the lender can repossess your home. As a result, the lender has some legal rights on your property as you pay off your mortgage.
Unlike a standard loan, the mortgage is used to enforce the lenders rights to the property if the borrower does not repay the home loan. If the borrower does not keep up with his/her monthly mortgage payments, the borrower can obtain the home through what is called foreclosure.
Foreclosure is the forced sale of a home or property that is pledged as security against a mortgage. The property is sold so the lender can recoup its losses on the loan.
There are two types of foreclosure: judicial and non-judicial foreclosure. A judicial foreclosure basically means that the foreclosure is a court-ordered legal process. New York is a judicial foreclosure state. A nonjudicial foreclosure happens outside of court. Massachusetts is a nonjudicial foreclosure state. (More on this in a moment.)
I sense you may not fully understand what "charge-off" means. To understand the concepts of charge-off and why this term and event means almost nothing to debtors, see the Bills.com resource Charge-Off & Credit Report.
Contact Chase to learn if it sold your account to a collection agent, or if the collection agent is working on behalf of Chase. Foreclosure is expensive, and Chase has the option to assign your account if it so chooses. Can Chase or the collection agent get a judgment (which is a necessary first step to getting a garnishment or levy) without foreclosing? Generally speaking, no. However, I hasten to add that this right is set in state law, and no two states have identical property or remedies laws.
Conflict of laws
Regarding the choice of laws question, that is highly fact-specific, and I am reluctant to offer an observation on this subject. Generally speaking, the foreclosure would be subject to Massachusetts collections law. Collections, however, would be governed by New York law. However, as I mentioned, your question is fact-specific, and therefore I urge you to consult with a New York attorney to get a more precise answer regarding your rights vis-a-vis the collection agent.
See Collections Advice to learn more about your rights as a debtor.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.
Your first course of action should be to negotiate a short sale with the lenders and a debt settlement on the deficiency balance. Read the Bills.com article about debt relief to learn about different options available, including debt settlement and bankruptcy.