Housing

Foreclosure

Foreclosure is the legal process a lender uses to take your home. If you have received foreclosure papers, don’t wait. Take action.

A note on COVID-19: If you have mortgage backed by the federal government, you may have two helpful protections available to you:

  • foreclosure moratorium through at least May 17, 2020. A moratorium stops or suspends the foreclosure; and, 
  • A right to up to a 12-month forbearance.  

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

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

If you haven’t paid your mortgage payment for several months, your lender may file for foreclosure against you in court. The official notification will come from the Clerk of Court's office. Don’t ignore this—open it now and take action.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) changes

To help homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes, the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides for two helpful protections:

  • foreclosure moratorium through at least May 17, 2020. A moratorium stops or suspends the foreclosure; and, 
  • A right to up to a 12-month forbearance for homeowners impacted by COVID-19.  

The foreclosure moratorium and right to forbearance applies to homeowners with a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)Freddie MacFannie MaeU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture.  

Almost half of the mortgages in the U.S. are backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, so many homeowners will qualify for the additional protections. You can see if your mortgage is backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae by going to their websites.

File a foreclosure answer.

You must file an answer with the court within 28 days. This is true even if you’re foreclosure has been suspended or you are talking to your lender or servicer about other options. If you do not file an answer you will lose your home.

To file an answer, fill out this form and take it to your Clerk of Court's office. You can find your Clerk of Court under "Local Government and Community Resources" on this page.  

Talk to an attorney.

Defending yourself from foreclosure can be complicated. You should consult an attorney for legal advice or representation if you can. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be able to get help with your foreclosure from your local legal aid organization.

Look out for scams.

There are scammers who try to take advantage of people who are trying to save their homes. Sometimes they try to get you to pay them cash. Sometimes they try to get you to sign over the deed to your home. Don't let scammers take your hard earned money or your home. Some common scams are:

  • Asking for cash so that they can “negotiate” a loan modification for you or "help save your home."
  • Suggesting that you deed your house to them and then rent it back from them.
  • Posing as the federal government offering you “special bailout funds.” 
  • Offering you cash to sign over the deed to your home. This lets them collect any money you are owed after your home is sold at auction.

To keep yourself safe from scammers:

  • Never sign papers under pressure. 
  • Never sign papers you don't understand.
  • Don’t sign anything with blank lines or spaces.
  • Never pay someone who is not your lender or loan servicer.
  • Don't stop communicating with your lender or loan servicer. 
  • Never give out personal information (unless it's to your lender or loan servicer). 
  • Never sign over the deed to your home (unless you are selling it).

Read more to learn about each step of the foreclosure process in Ohio.

Forms and Letters

Find forms and letters that you can fill out yourself.

Local Government and Community Resources

Find courts and helpful resources in your community.