Legal Aid saves home from foreclosure

Metropolitan Maryland office staff attorney Vicki Taitano is off to a good start in her job as the lead housing preservation advocate for the office, which covers Prince George’s, Montgomery and Howard counties. She and a client recently signed an agreement that will get her house back from foreclosure. The story: The client had fallen behind on her mortgage after the birth of her son and she had to cut her work hours back to part-time for a short period. She worked out a forbearance agreement with the bank. But they suddenly decided not to honor the agreement and rushed to foreclose.

The client had been in the house for 10 years. The home equity line of credit lien holder foreclosed and sold to a private purchaser. Even though the bank admitted it made a mistake and tried to pull it back from the purchaser, he would not agree. Taitano filed objections to motions for possession and surplus proceeds and threatened legal action against the bank, which was negotiating to try to buy the house back from the purchaser.

“The client, feeling emboldened by having Vicki on her side, helped turn up the heat on the bank by contacting a local television station consumer helpline,” said Metro chief attorney Blake Fetrow. “Caught between Vicki’s threats of a lawsuit and the light cast on their error by Channel 7, the bank agreed to pay the purchase price to a third-party purchaser. They then modified the loan to the client and forgave the missed payments from all of the time that this was going on. The end result is that the foreclosure on her home was cancelled and she is still in her house with a much better, more manageable loan.”


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