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Defending Your Home Foreclosure: An Interview with Richard Rydstrom of Rydstrom Law

By Richard Rydstrom

Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history and the services you offer.

With more than 23 years of legal experience, California attorney Richard Rydstrom is rated "Superb," 10 out of 10 by Avvo, the world's largest rating directory of lawyers. He handles civil litigation, business and real estate matters. He has vast experience representing plaintiffs, defendants, homeowners and mortgage banking institutions. Richard is considered a national expert by the mortgage banking and foreclosure industry. When the U.S. Treasury was establishing national policy on mortgage modifications and foreclosures for President Obama's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), Rydstrom served on the official working groups with the American Legal & Financial Network (AFN), consumer groups and banking institutions. When the 110th Congress wanted a neutral analysis of the predictive mortgage finance meltdown, Rydstrom was chosen to give an official statement to the House Ways & Means Committee. When the AFN wanted to educate its mortgage banking Servicers on the U.S. Treasury's first HAMP outline, they chose Rydstrom.

Are there any ways that a homeowner in California can stop a foreclosure?

Yes. There are many ways to legally stop a wrongful foreclosure. Banks have rights, but homeowners have rights too. Generally, if a homeowner has a mortgage modification (or default solution request) pending, the bank is not allowed to "dual-track" and proceed with a foreclosure without compliance with strict rules (under HAMP and HOBR [Homeowner's Bill of Rights]). Not only was this established in the landmark appellate case that I won (in 2013) entitled "West v. J.P. Morgan Chase," under various legal theories, including violations of HAMP, but effective January 1, 2013, the HOBR generally prohibits foreclosure (or the filing of the Notice of Trustee's Sale) during the pendency of a default solution or modification. Default solutions also include alternatives to foreclosure (under HAFA) such as a short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, etc.

What should a homeowner do if the lender doesn't comply with all of the foreclosure requirements?

Homeowners should document (in writing) their efforts seeking a default or modification solution, and their objections to believed erroneous denials of such solutions. If the servicer (bank) does not correct its mistakes or rescind the foreclosure sale promptly (usually within 7 to 10 days), the homeowner should seek legal counsel to protect their rights including filing a lawsuit and seeking a temporary restraining order ("TRO"), and preliminary injunction.

Is there anything that most homeowners don't know about foreclosures that they should know?

Homeowners have rights to stop wrongful foreclosure. However, homeowners need to document their requests for default or modification solutions, and their objections to believed erroneous denials of such solutions. Homeowners must make all efforts to comply with the requests of the servicer (bank), including resending the documents (over and over again) so that the bank's attorneys cannot later blame the homeowner for the solution failure.

How do California state laws affect the foreclosure process?

State laws generally control the foreclosure scheme. In California nonjudicial foreclosure is generally governed by California Civil Code 2924 et seq. However, effective January 1, 2013, a homeowner may sue a servicer (bank) who proceeds with foreclosure activity (without compliance with strict rules under HOBR), as the California Homeowner's Bill of Rights established a private right of action for injunction, damages and attorney fees. Also, a homeowner may sue a servicer (bank) for various causes of action in California including wrongful foreclosure, fraud, promissory estoppel, breach of contract, unfair business practices (B&P 17,200). A homeowner may also use violations of HAMP to support its causes of action.

What is one of the biggest regrets you've seen people have when it comes to a foreclosure defense? What would you recommend to help homeowners avoid this?

Homeowners often give up and refuse or fail to continue to resend the requested "missing" documents to the servicer (bank), which generally allows the bank to defend by saying that the homeowner "waived" its rights. Homeowners are entitled to a proper evaluation and decision for a default, modification or short sale solution (under HAMP, HOBR, HAFA), but as a practical matter the homeowner must jump through all the hoops (even though laws and regulations do define certain limits).

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

Rydstrom Law Office
Richard Rydstrom, Esq.
4695 MacArthur Court
Newport Beach, Ca 92660
TEL: (949) 678-2218
FAX: (949) 606-9716

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