Housing

Foreclosure timeline in Ohio

Foreclosure is the legal process a lender uses to take your home. The process from start to finish can take between six months and two years.

A note on COVID-19: The foreclosure moratorium for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae has ended. This means that foreclosure proceedings can now start, but you are still protected from being removed from your home through September 30, 2021.

If you can't pay your mortgage, you should contact your loan servicer immediately to request help. Be prepared to wait on the line for assistance as a lot of homeowners are seeking help right now.

This page was last updated on 8.24.21.  

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Foreclosure in Ohio can take different lengths of time based on how quickly a lender takes action. But, there are certain deadlines that are important. Here is a summary of the steps that have to happen for a foreclosure to be completed, and the important deadlines you need to know.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) changes

The foreclosure moratorium for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae has ended. This means that foreclosure proceedings can now start, but you cannot be removed from your home through September 30, 2021.

If you can't pay your mortgage, you should contact your loan servicer immediately to request help. Be prepared to wait on the line for assistance as a lot of homeowners are seeking help right now.     

Ohio has allocated funding to Community Action Agencies to provide rent, mortgage and water and/or sewer assistance to Ohioans in need in all 88 counties. This assistance can help Ohioans pay outstanding balances back to April 1, 2020. Ohio households behind on their bills with an annual income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for assistance. You can apply for mortgage assistance now through your local community action agency. 

Day 1 through 120

 

You miss your mortgage payment 

Most lenders will wait three months before starting the foreclosure process. During this time, your servicer will try to reach out to you to discuss potential options to get you current. Don't ignore these letters or calls. If you’re behind on your mortgage but have not received foreclosure papers from the court, find out what you can do now to avoid foreclosure.

Day 120 through 180

 

Your lender files a foreclosure against you 

The legal foreclosure process does not start until the lender files against you in court. If you receive foreclosure papers, also called a “complaint,” in the mail or served to you in-person, don’t ignore them. Take action.

File an answer in 28 days 

The most important deadline in the process is 28 days after you receive the foreclosure complaint. You must file an “answer,” or a response to your lender’s claims in 28 days. Otherwise, the court will assume that you agree with everything your lender is saying and they will win the case. If you don’t file an answer, the court can rule against you in as little as 31 days. Find out what to do after you receive foreclosure papers to learn how to file an answer.

Your lender files for a judgment 

If you file an answer, the next step is for your lender to file a “summary judgment,” or documents asking the court to make a decision based on the facts you and the lender have given, without going to trial. Most foreclosures do not go to trial. If you want to oppose or fight the summary judgment, it is important you get a lawyer. You may qualify for legal aid.  

Day 180+

 

If the court decides against you, your home will be put up for sheriff's sale.

The sheriff’s sale process can be a little different from county to county, but in general:

  • There will be an “appraisal” of your home. This means that an expert, hired by the sheriff, will come to look at your home and estimate its value.
  • The home will be sold at public auction.
  • The home cannot be sold for less than 2/3 of the appraised value.

After the sale, the sheriff has up to 60 days to let the court know the sale took place.

Eviction from your home. 

The final act of the foreclosure is when the court confirms that the sale has happened, and that the buyer is now the owner of the home. You will get a letter from the sheriff’s office saying that you must move out. The amount of time you have depends on the county that you live in, and will be included in the letter.

The foreclosure process in Ohio doesn’t have a set length. The speed of the process will depend on how fast your lender acts and can take up to two years.

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