In Vermont, before the bank can take your home, the bank has to sue you in court. The court case starts when a sheriff gives you legal papers called a “Summons” and a “Complaint.” Or, if the sheriff can't find you, sometimes the sheriff will give the papers to someone who lives with you or leave the papers on your door. All of this is called “serving” you with the lawsuit. This is how the lawsuit starts. The bank also sends the Summons and Complaint to Superior Court where the property is located.
- Banks often say “you are in the foreclosure process” or “we are referring you for foreclosure” or “we are already foreclosing on you.” But the bank might not have started a lawsuit yet. Also, before the bank starts the lawsuit, they should send you a letter that says they are “accelerating” your mortgage and the full amount of the loan is due. If you are not sure if a lawsuit has started, call the Superior Court for the county where the property is located and ask if a foreclosure case has been started against you.
- When you are served with a Summons and Complaint for a foreclosure lawsuit, it is very important to talk to a lawyer right away. Fill out our form and we will call you back. Your information will be sent to Legal Services Vermont. You can also call us at 1-800-889-2047. We can give you quick advice or possibly a referral to a lawyer. You must give the court a written response within 21 days of when the sheriff served the papers. If you can, get legal help when you write your response to the court. We offer a sample Answer form on this page.
- If you get served with papers that say you have a right to mediation, you should fill in your name, address and phone number on the form and send it to the court right away. Mediation will put the foreclosure case on hold. You will work with the bank and a neutral person called a mediator. If you provide the needed financial information, the bank has to consider you for an affordable loan modification or other options that could help you save your home.
If you have a low income and you are having mortgage payment issues or are in foreclosure on your primary residence, contact us. Fill out our form and we will call you back. You can also call us at 1-800-889-2047. We can give you quick advice or possibly a referral to a lawyer.
Warning: Beware of Foreclosure Relief Scams
Some Vermonters who are in foreclosure receive a mailing that tries to get them to pay fees to a law group for help with a loan modification. Beware of this scam! The only way you can get a loan modification is by negotiating with your lender.
You can get FREE help with loan modification from Vermont's NeighborWorks / Vermont Homeownership Centers.If you think you have been the victim of a mortgage foreclosure relief scam, report it to the FTC or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Vermont Attorney General.