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Retail Heir David Lowy Is Behind One57 Purchase That Set New High in NYC Foreclosure Auction

A limited liability company controlled by David Lowy, whose father Frank Lowy founded retail giant the Westfield Corp., spent approximately $36 million on a condominium on New York City’s Billionaire’s Row at a recent foreclosure auction, according to two people with knowledge of the deal.

The unit, a penthouse at One57 at 157 West 57th Street, had been owned by shell companies linked to Kolawole Akanni Aluko, a Nigerian businessman accused by the U.S. of conspiring to pay bribes to the country’s former oil minister in return…

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State Rep. William Tong Considering Run for Attorney General

State Rep. William Tong is considering running for Attorney General and he made the announcement a day after Attorney General George Jepsen said he will not seek re-election next year. 

Tong, who serves as co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, filed papers Tuesday with the State Elections Enforcement Commission to form an exploratory committee for statewide office with a focus on Attorney General, according to a statement. 

Tong is in his sixth term and has practiced law for the last 14 years as a litigator in state and federal courts in Connecticut. 

His biography says he is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School where he was taught by then-professor Barack Obama. 

Following is Tong’s full statement: 

“Today, I will be forming an exploratory committee for statewide office, with a focus on Attorney General, because Connecticut needs an Attorney General who will stand up for all of us. As I explore running for this office, I will listen to the people of Connecticut and hear what they want in their chief legal advocate. Like Attorney General Jepsen before me, I serve as Co Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, where I personally stood up to the NRA by fighting to pass laws to stop gun trafficking and protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence; stood up to an unjust system of mass incarceration by fighting to pass the Second Chance Society law, the Excessive Use of Force law, and the law reforming a broken bail system; and stood up for civil rights and basic liberties by fighting for marriage equality, transgender rights, and the rights of immigrants unfairly targeted by federal authorities. And in the midst of the mortgage crisis, I stood up to Wall Street by fighting to overhaul our state’s foreclosure laws and to help thousands of people stay in their homes. 

“I took on these fights because I know what it’s like to face enormous odds. My parents came to this country with almost nothing and struggled everyday for my sisters and me. They were able to succeed in a system where if you worked hard and played by the rules, you could achieve the American Dream. Under Donald Trump, we have an administration that attacks families like mine instead of helping us make that American Dream a reality. We need an Attorney General who will continue the legacies of George Jepsen and Dick Blumenthal, standing up to powerful special interests and fighting for those who need an advocate. To serve as Attorney General of Connecticut, and to make history as the first Asian American constitutional officer in state history, would be the highest honor of my professional life and part of my lifelong fight to stand up for all of us.”

Counsel’s Corner: Brigham Lundberg talks Foreclosure Environment

Brigham J. Lundberg is the Managing Attorney and a shareholder of Lundberg Associates, PC in Salt Lake City, Utah. His practice includes real estate litigation, title issues, matters related to judicial and nonjudicial foreclosures, appellate practice, collections, and unlawful detainer actions. He is a frequent panelist and lecturer at industry conferences and client-attorney summits on various topics, including foreclosure, creditorsrights, regulatory compliance, evictions, and property preservation. Lundberg is licensed to practice in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.

There are a number of decisions regarding the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA) being issued this year. What can law firms expect to learn from the decisions in these cases? The recent proliferation of FDCPA-related litigation and corresponding appellate decisions reflect a continued push by consumer advocacy attorneys to piggyback, so to speak, on the efforts of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other state and federal regulators to ensure that default law firms conduct foreclosure and collection actions in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

When originally enacted, the FDCPA exempted attorneys from its provisions; later, it was clarified that attorneys were subject to the FDCPA. Yet attorneys continue to opine that they should not be subject to the FDCPAs requirements, while nonetheless complying with the acts notice requirements out of an abundance of caution. Recent cases like Henson v. Santander; Ho v. Recontrust, NA; and Dowers v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC explore the definition of debt collectorand its applicability to attorneys in the context of collections and nonjudicial foreclosure, respectively.

While these decisions have each helped exclude attorneys in certain circumstances from the ambit of the FDCPA, they have also left questions unanswered as to the FDCPAs applicability to attorneys as debt collectorsin slightly different circumstances. Firms will want to keep a close eye on future FDCPA decisions that will undoubtedly further refine the definition of debt collectoras it applies to attorneys.

Other recent major FDCPA cases have explored the issues surrounding the collection of time-barred debt (Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson) and the inclusion of estimated fees and costs in reinstatement quotes (Prescott v. Seterus, Inc.). It will be interesting to see what effect these decisions have on legal precedent, because the decisions issued were dependent on the specific fact patterns, which may or may not be mimicked in future cases.

More importantly, it seems, is the effect these decisions have had on the industry at large and on the way mortgage servicers conduct business. Clearly, one case like Prescott can drastically change policies and procedures of the servicers and their attorneys, as they seek to avoid any possibility of running afoul of the FDCPA.

What can firms do to prepare for the developments that CFPB has made in servicing policy? With amendments to the CFPB regulations regarding successors in interest and periodic statements for borrowers in bankruptcy on the horizon, firms would be well advised to take action now to be prepared for the April 2018 effective date.

Firms should have well-defined policies to identify and verify successors in interest on a mortgage loan, and clear procedures regarding additional measures to be taken to properly notify successors in interest of any rights they may have with respect to their predecessors loan. Likewise, law firms would do well to prepare for the impact of the bankruptcy periodic statements requirements, which may impact the manner in which firms invoice their clients.

The periodic statements requirements will likely require monthly or more frequent invoicing to ensure that servicers are up-to-date on outstanding attorney fees and costs to accurately represent those in periodic statements. More frequent invoicing may also require a financial commitment by the firms in the form of increased staffing and/or electronic invoicing costs, for which firms need to be prepared.

What associated challenges come with nonjudicial foreclosures? Anytime you take an action like foreclosure and remove its judicial oversight by utilizing a nonjudicial foreclosure process, you run the risk of potential post-foreclosure judicial challenges to the validity of the foreclosure, either in the form of separate judicial litigation or a challenge to judicial eviction proceedings.

Most of those challenges will focus on technicalities in the nonjudicial process, which in most states requires strict compliance. Thankfully, weve seen a few recent court decisions requiring borrowers to make some affirmative challenge to the foreclosure proceedings prior to foreclosure sale in order to protect their rights. If the borrowers fail to do so, courts are less inclined to unwind a foreclosure, as the borrowers have slept on their rights.

Another continuing challenge is the concept of milestone billing of attorney fees for nonjudicial foreclosures and its tension with servicersdesire to repeatedly offer loss mitigation to borrowers. This challenge is particularly acute in two-step nonjudicial foreclosure states like Utah and California, where law firms often lack any control over the ability to reach the next milestone. Further, firms are often subjected to wholly unrealistic milestone percentages that bear no logical association to the amount of work undertaken by the law firm.

What should law firms be doing to ensure that their business is stable and able to adapt to the ever changing foreclosure volumes?

There is no substitute for doing good, quality work and maintaining excellent client relationships. Communication and accountability still go a long way in todays legal environment. Additionally, it is absolutely critical to adapt to the major changes our industry has experienced over the past 10 years by making the necessary investment in compliance, especially in technology and security.

Everyone in our industry is feeling the same pain in the form of increased compliance costs. Servicers and lenders are looking to partner with law firms that clearly demonstrate that they have the policies and procedures necessary to meet the ever-increasing security and tech requirements. Also, as foreclosure volumes continue to fluctuate, flexibility is key. Leveraging technological advances may enable firms to expand or contract as necessary to manage a variable workload.

As an attorney who primarily practices in Utah, what litigation developments are impacting your state? After years of not having really any appellate decisions interpreting the statute of limitations in the nonjudicial foreclosure context, Utah courts have recently provided us with some guidance in that area. A state appellate court decision, Goldenwest v. Kenworthy, clarified the fact that the statute of limitations on an installment contract like a mortgage loan begins to run upon acceleration, or, in its absence, maturity, of the debt, a concept long ago accepted in other states.

However, due to some muddled statutory language, borrowers had continued to contest this point prior to this decision. Additionally, a federal court decision in Koyle v. Sand Canyon Corp., later affirmed by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, provided additional clarification regarding the importance of acceleration and deacceleration in determining the running of the statute of limitations.

These decisions, combined with some 2016 legislative changes to Utahs nonjudicial foreclosure statute regarding statute of limitations, have aided in reducing the concern of statute of limitations problems for a large portion of aged loans in Utah.

The Utah Supreme Court has also weighed in on borrowerschallenges to nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings both prior to and after the trustees sale in Bank of America v. Adamson. The Adamson court emphasized the importance of challenging irregularities in foreclosure proceedings prior to the sale and the recording of the trustees deed, as the borrower will face a much higher burden in challenging foreclosure proceeding after the sale has occurred. In particular, borrowers must prove fraud, unfair dealing, or prejudice from a defect in the foreclosure proceedings to set aside a sale, and that may only occur if a bona fide purchaser has not purchased the property.

Essentially, the courts are taking a position that minor errors in compliance by the trustee will not be fatal to a foreclosure unless such errors are prejudicial to the borrower. This may have always been the sentiment of judges in analyzing challenges to foreclosures, but having it published and treated as precedent is a positive development for servicers and default law firms in Utah.

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Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 2:09 pm



MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE SALE Default having been made in the payment of the indebtedness secured by that certain mortgage executed by Eric M. Caylor, an unmarried man, originally in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., as nominee for Envoy Mortgage, LTD, on the 3rd day of May, 2016, said mortgage recorded in the Office of the Judge of Probate of Coffee County, Alabama, in Book 732 Page 178; the undersigned RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation, as Mortgagee/Transferee, under and by virtue of the power of sale contained in said mortgage, will sell at public outcry to the highest bidder for cash, in front of the main entrance of the Courthouse at Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama, on January 23, 2018, during the legal hours of sale, all of its right, title, and interest in and to the following described real estate, situated in Coffee County, Alabama, to-wit: Lot 29, Block A, Foxchase Subdivision, Phase II, a Subdivision, according to a map or plat thereof which is on file of record in the Office of the Judge of Probate of Coffee County, Alabama, in Plat Book 3, Page 249, reference to which is hereby made in aid of and as a part of this description. Property street address for informational purposes:  148 Woodmere Dr , Enterprise, AL  36330 THIS PROPERTY WILL BE SOLD ON AN “AS IS, WHERE IS” BASIS, SUBJECT TO ANY EASEMENTS, ENCUMBRANCES, AND EXCEPTIONS REFLECTED IN THE MORTGAGE AND THOSE CONTAINED IN THE RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE OF PROBATE OF THE COUNTY WHERE THE ABOVE-DESCRIBED PROPERTY IS SITUATED.  THIS PROPERTY WILL BE SOLD WITHOUT WARRANTY OR RECOURSE, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED AS TO TITLE, USE AND/OR ENJOYMENT AND WILL BE SOLD SUBJECT TO THE RIGHT OF REDEMPTION OF ALL PARTIES ENTITLED THERETO. Alabama law gives some persons who have an interest in property the right to redeem the property under certain circumstances.  Programs may also exist that help persons avoid or delay the foreclosure process. An attorney should be consulted to help you understand these rights and programs as a part of the foreclosure process. This sale is made for the purpose of paying the indebtedness secured by said mortgage, as well as the expenses of foreclosure. The successful bidder must tender a non-refundable deposit of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) in certified funds made payable to Sirote Permutt, P.C. at the time and place of the sale. The balance of the purchase price must be paid in certified funds by noon the next business day at the Law Office of Sirote Permutt, P.C. at the address indicated below. Sirote Permutt, P.C. reserves the right to award the bid to the next highest bidder should the highest bidder fail to timely tender the total amount due. The Mortgagee/Transferee reserves the right to bid for and purchase the real estate and to credit its purchase price against the expenses of sale and the indebtedness secured by the real estate. This sale is subject to postponement or cancellation. RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation, Mortgagee/Transferee Rebecca Redmond SIROTE PERMUTT, P.C. P. O. Box 55727 Birmingham, AL  35255-5727 Attorney for Mortgagee/Transferee 11/29, 12/6, 12/13/2017

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017 2:09 pm.

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North End nonprofit saves low-income family homes from foreclosure

Earlier this year, Forbes ranked Detroit’s real estate market as the most undervalued in the nation. The report cited the city’s low housing prices and the prospect of increased development as reasons for Detroit’s recent real estate boom.

Discussions about Detroit’s ripe real estate opportunities are often geared toward affluent outsiders and metro Detroiters who can afford to take on the financial risk of buying and rehabbing a home. But what about the long-time Detroiters who wish to keep their properties in good shape and avoid displacement?

In October, the North End’s Vanguard Community Development Corporation, an economic equity and racial justice-focused nonprofit, prevented 24 low-income family homes, collectively called Melrose Square, from going into foreclosure. 

“Vanguard is so very pleased to be able to preserve these homes for low-income families; especially given that the homes are located within the greater Downtown Detroit footprint,” says Pamela Martin-Turner, CEO of Vanguard. “It is important for people of modest means to be able to remain in their neighborhoods and to enjoy the benefits of Detroit’s new economic boom.”

Built in 2006, the Melrose Square homes are just north of Grand Boulevard on Melrose and Cameron streets. Vanguard has been working to secure financial support since 2015 and were able to start making capital improvements with grants of $965,000 from the city of Detroit and $700,000 from IFF.

Rehabilitation efforts which include improvements on the roof, insulation, landscape, exterior appearance, concrete repair, and exterior lighting will continue through July 2018.

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Auburn waives foreclosure of St. Louis Church

AUBURN — The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to waive the foreclosure of the former St. Louis Church.

“It’s in the best interest of the city to waive the foreclosure and work with the church,” Mayor Jonathan LaBonte said. 

If the city took possession of the property, it would be responsible for all utilities, insurance and maintenance issues. 

The former church at 32 Dunn St. owes the city $34,508 for three years of property taxes, according to Deputy Assessor Joseph St. Peter.

The property’s 2015 taxes mature in December, and if councilors did not waive the foreclosure the city would automatically take possession of it. 

St. Peter clarified that waiving the foreclosure doesn’t make the taxes go away. 

Another property tax lien will mature in December 2018, if the taxes from 2016 are not paid. The city would be able to vote on the issue again if that happens. 

Councilor Andrew Titus said he was in favor of waiving the foreclosure, but thought it would be good for the city to get regular progress reports from the church.

Councilor Grady Burns agreed, and said if in a year the owners still can’t pay taxes it would be time to look at what to do. 

In other business, the council agreed to a five-year lease between Michael Violette and the Norway Savings Bank Arena. Violette, the owner of Upper Level Pizza Grill, will operate the concessions and restaurant on the second floor of the arena. 

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The composition of the gavel, statuette of goddess of justice Themis – with scales of justice, legal codes, stamps and pen. Law concept

Default having been made in the terms of a mortgage executed to the undersigned by Daniel T. Teel, unmarried, on the 10th day of November, 2009, which said mortgage is recorded in the Office of the Judge of Probate of Lee County, Alabama, in Mortgage Book 3696, Page 781, and said default continuing, the undersigned, CharterBank, will sell at public outcry, for cash, to the highest bidder, in front of the courthouse door of said County between the legal hours of sale, on the 20th day of December, 2017, the following described property, to-wit:
A LEASEHOLD INTEREST IN: All that lot, tract or parcel of land situate, lying and being in the State of Alabama and County of Lee, lying and being in T19N, R29E of Section 14 of Lee County, Alabama and being known and designated as ALL OF LOT NUMBERED THREE HUNDRED FORTY-NINE (349), OF AREA 43 OF GEORGIA POWER BARTLETT’S FERRY RESERVOIR RECREATION DEVELOPMENT (the “Leased Land”), as more particularly described in, and the leasehold interest described herein is evidenced by, that certain Lease Agreement between Georgia Power Company and Daniel T. Teel dated October 23, 2009, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit “B” and by this reference made a part hereof (the “Lease”). Grantor hereby agrees to exercise the option to renew said Lease contained therein so as to keep said Lease in effect for as long as any indebtedness shall remain secured hereunder.
Subject to the terms and provisions of the Lease and all easements and restrictions of record or in existence on the above described property.
This instrument incorporates a conditional assignment of the above-described Lease to the Lender. Said assignment and power of attorney conveyed herein shall be coupled with an interest so as to allow for any remedies herein provided.
In the event of a default in the terms of the above-described Lease or if such Lease should be canceled, terminated, revoked or transferred or should the Grantor execute a Bill of Sale or transfer of the improvements located upon the above-described lease lot, then the Grantee shall have the right and option to declare all sums secured by this instrument to be immediately due and payable, without notice to the Grantor.
Legal run 11/29/17, 12/6/17, 12/13/17

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Ask an Attorney: Can I refinance if I have a foreclosure on my credit …

Monday, Nov. 27, 2017 | 2 a.m.

Xenophon Peters, Esq.

By Attorney Xenophon Peters, Esq., Partner, Peters and Associates, LLP

Question: A few years ago, an investment property of mine was foreclosed on. Since then, I’ve been focused on rebuilding my credit score and have been careful to avoid anything that would negatively affect my credit. Now, I want to refinance my primary home, but I’m worried it will be denied because of the past foreclosure. What are my options?

Answer: Being able to refinance will depend on the amount of time that has passed following the foreclosure, the amount of credit you’ve been able to build in the meantime, and the lender’s mandatory requirements.

Fortunately, lenders are becoming more forgiving about credit mishaps and it’s becoming easier to recover from events like foreclosures, short sales and bankruptcies.

Minimum waiting periods following a foreclosure and short sale

Foreclosures and short sales will sit on your credit report for seven years, but you can still rebuild in the meantime. When evaluating credit-worthiness, some lenders are more concerned about what you’ve done since the delinquency, and look for indicators that you’ve taken steps to correct your past indiscretions.

Many lenders require people to reach a minimum credit score to be considered for a loan, so check with the lender to see if you’re within that range. If you’re not, continue to improve your score by using credit responsibly and monitoring your reports each month.

If you are within the minimum credit score range, you’re one step closer to being able to qualify for a refinance, but you may not be out of the woods yet. Depending on the lender, there are varying mandatory timelines you have to follow before applying for a loan.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The minimum, mandatory “seasoning period”­­— the amount of time following a foreclosure/short sale that you must wait before applying for a loan ­ — is generally two years. That is, if you have the cash to put down.

The waiting periods for conventional loans granted through Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac vary depending on how much you’re able to put down (or, how much equity you have in the existing loan). For refinancing, lenders calculate your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.

Typically, the wait time is:

• Two years for an 80 percent LTV (or, 20 percent down)

• Four years for a 90 percent LTV (10 percent down)

• The maximum wait time is seven years if you’re putting the minimum down (typically 5 percent)

Occasionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer exceptions to the seasoning period requirements, but you’ll have to prove that the default on the past loan occurred under extenuating circumstances, and supply a reasonable argument that it won’t happen again.

Federal Housing Administration

In some cases, Federal Housing Administration loans don’t require a waiting period following a foreclosure or short sale. You may not have to wait if you were not in default at the time of the short sale and you were up-to-date on your payments for at least 12 months prior to the short sale.

However, if you defaulted on the mortgage at the time of the short sale or if you were foreclosed on, the waiting period is generally three years until you’re able to apply for another FHA loan.

The three-year waiting period can be overridden in some circumstances. If there was a serious illness or death in the family that affected the household income during the time of default, or sudden job loss, you may be able to argue the circumstances leading to the default were extenuating as well.

Further, while the FHA may agree to insure the loan, it’s ultimately the lender’s decision whether to approve it. Many loans through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are granted with an FHA loan approval, but other lenders may be more apprehensive.

VA and private loans

There are government-backed programs offered to veterans that can help them apply for a loan with a short wait time. Most VA loans, offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs, have a two-year waiting period, but sometimes it can be as short as one year, depending on the circumstances.

Private lenders often follow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wait-time guidelines, but they also may be more flexible, depending on what you’re able to put down. A high down payment, over 20 percent, may be required to bypass wait times.

Note: Some lenders may push you to accept a higher interest rate in exchange for a shorter wait time, but this is not advised — especially when trying to refinance.


If you have a question you’d like to see answered by an attorney in a future issue, please write to [email protected] or visit

Please note: The information in this column is intended for general purposes only and is not to be considered legal or professional advice of any kind. You should seek advice that is specific to your problem before taking or refraining from any action and should not rely on the information in this column.

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City officials: rental registration will start on Jan. 1


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WATERTOWN — Despite still working out some software obstacles, the city’s rental registration will begin on Jan. 1.

For months, a committee of city employees met weekly to make sure that computer software would be in place so the city can start getting a handle on its 6,000 apartments.

City Manager Sharon A. Addison assured that the rental registration “will be ready to roll on Jan. 1.”

City Councilman Stephen A. Jennings, who wrote the legislation, said landlords will have six months to provide the information about their property to the city.

“This is not to be adversarial with landlords,” he said. “We want to work with landlords.”

The information gleaned from the registration program will help the city keep tabs on who owns rental properties and how to contact them. It will help the city find out about out-of-state landlords and companies that don’t list property owners’ identities, Councilman Jennings said.

According to the program’s intent, landlords will register their rental properties online. They also will be required to include information about the name of the property managers and how to contact them if the owner lives outside of Jefferson County.

The city purposely made it so landlords do not have pay registration fees.

A handful of city employees received training in the new software, which was purchased from Accella Software for $21,286.80.

Christine A. Shipley became a certified code enforcement officer to work on the program. Some of her salary will be paid through a $149,492 state grant that’s also being used to combat so-called “zombie properties” and abandoned and vacant homes.

Once it goes into operation, code enforcement employees can put the information on tablets while working out in the field.

At first, however, code enforcement will continue to use both the paper forms and the electronic versions until the city is assured that there are no glitches, City Assessor Brian S. Phelps said.

“It might not be in the final stages when it goes into effect,” he said.

The software also will be used by the engineering office and the planning department.

In October, the city was awarded the $149,000 in funding through the state attorney general’s office while officials were trying to figure out how to deal with “zombie properties” — vacant houses that are abandoned by owners before the foreclosure process begins — and other housing issues.

Under the two-year program, the city will be able to identify and keep better track of abandoned homes and help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

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More Funds Available For New Yorkers Seeking To Avoid Foreclosure

Nov 27, 2017 11:44 AM

An additional $20 million in funding for the New York State Homeowner Protection Program, HOPP, has recently been made available by the office of the attorney general.

Since the program began in 2012, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s HOPP program has helped more than 80,000 families across New York State avoid foreclosure. This most recent addition of funds brings the total program investment to $130 million, which has been funded, in part, by lawsuit settlements against banks, secured through the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force

Residents looking to avoid foreclosure on their homes can learn more and find qualified mortgage-assistance relief services by visiting or by calling the attorney general’s Foreclosure Prevention Hotline at 855-466-3456.

In a prepared statement, Mr. Schneiderman praised the necessity of the program, saying, “As communities across New York continue to recover from the housing crisis, HOPP has provided a lifeline that allows families to avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes.

“It’s clear,” he continued, “that there’s an ongoing need for these critical services.”

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