Foreclosure Defense

The Western New York Law Center's foreclosure unit provides a comprehensive array of services to homeowners facing foreclosure. We strive to provide compassionate, professional and expert representation to guide homeowners through the foreclosure process, and to help homeowners assess all available options.


Representation at New York State Mandated Settlement Conferences to Negotiate a Settlement of the Lawsuit

Whether the homeowner is looking to retain or leave the home, the Law Center can assist in assessing options, navigating the application process with the mortgage servicer, representation at court mandated settlement conferences, reviewing settlement agreements, denials, and challenging denials where appropriate.

Foreclosure Litigation

Where appropriate in the discretion of the Law Center, full representation to litigate claims and defense is available. If we are not able to fully represent you, we can assist with completing a pro se answer or providing general advice about claims and defenses. 

Mortgage Discharge Actions

Where appropriate in the discretion of the Law Center, full representation to litigate claims and defenses is available. If we are not able to fully represent you, we can assist with completing a pro se answer or providing general advice about claims and defenses.

Surplus Monies Proceedings

For former owners of a home sold in a tax or mortgage foreclosure auction, we can assist in recouping any equity that you had above the amounts foreclosed upon. Any liens on the property at the time of the auction will be considered and may potentially claim all or a portion of the funds. 

Tax Foreclosure Representation

Representation in negotiating payment plans to catch up on delinquent taxes, and, in limited circumstances, representation to challenge a tax foreclosure auction.  

Advice and Counsel

Where we are unable to assist in full capacity, we are always happy to provide advice and guidance where we can about any of your foreclosure questions and needs.

Forbearance Assistance

We can help homeowners in default on their loans explore loss mitigation options prior to a foreclosure filing.

Helpful Information

Below we have compiled basic information surrounding NYS foreclosures, frequently asked questions and key terms you may need when navigating the foreclosure process.

Steps in a NYS Foreclosure Process

The average foreclosure in New York State takes about 15-24 months from the date of the first missed payment. Below is a basic overview of the path of a foreclosure action.

Step #1

Missed Payments & Acceleration Letter

Once payments are missed, the lender will send an acceleration letter to the borrower, which states that the lender will accelerate the total amount of the mortgage if the arrears are not paid in full by a certain date. This letter is usually not sent until the borrower is at least 2-3 months in default. At this point, the lender is looking for the entire amount of arrears and will generally not accept partial payment. 

Step #2

90-Day Notice

New York State law requires that the lender send a specific notice to the borrower at least 90 days before filing a Summons & Complaint.

Step #3

Lender Files
Lis Pendens

 A lis pendens is a legal document filed by the bank attorney in a foreclosure matter either prior to or at the same time that the attorney files the summons and complaint to initiate the foreclosure case.  The law requires the bank attorney to file this document prior to filing the complaint to put the world on notice there is litigation pending over a piece of real property.

Step #4

Lender Files and
Serves a Summons
& Complaint

The summons and complaint is filed with the court and initiates the lawsuit. The borrower is served and may or may not answer the complaint. 

Step #5

Mandatory Settlement Conference is Scheduled

After the borrower has been served, the lender must file an affidavit with the court to show that they have served all parties and also file a Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI) which allows the court to schedule a settlement conference. The conference is usually scheduled within 60 days after the RJI is filed. There may be several settlement conferences held over many months. The foreclosure action is on hold during this time. If the borrower or their attorney does not appear at the first conference, no further conference will be held and the case will proceed to the next step.

Step #6

Foreclosure is Discontinued or Case Proceeds to a Judge

If an agreement is reached within the settlement conference, the lender must discontinue the foreclosure within 90 days after settlement. If an agreement is not reached, or if the borrower failed to appear at the first conference, the case will be assigned to a judge and proceed.

Step #7

Motion for Order
of Reference

If the borrower did not file an answer, the lender will file a Motion for Order of Reference. If the borrower filed an answer, the lender will file a Motion for Summary Judgement.

Step #8

Motion for Judgement of Foreclosure or Trial

If the judge grants the Motion for Order of Reference, a referee is appointed to compute the amount due to the lender. Once the referee’s report is done, the lender will make a motion for Judgement of Foreclosure and Sale, which asks the judge to give them an order allowing them to sell the property at auction. 

If factual disputes remain from the borrower’s answer, a trial will be held to determine whether the borrower will prevail and the foreclosure will be dismissed, or whether the lender will be permitted to proceed with foreclosure.

Step #9


Once the lender has been granted a Judgement of Foreclosure and Sale by the court, the lender can hold a public auction (usually at the courthouse) and anyone, including the lender, may bid. Once payment is made and the sale is complete, the winning bidder will take ownership of the property. If the borrower is still residing in the property, the new owner can begin the process to evict the borrower from the property.

Help the WNYLC Put a Stop to Injustice in Our Community

Contact Us!

Email Us!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Call Us!


Office Hours:
9:00am - 5:00pm
Or By Appointment

Our Address

By Appointment Only

37 Franklin Street
2nd Floor, Suite 210
Buffalo, NY 14202

(Look for us behind Pearl Street)

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Nothing on this or associated pages should be taken as legal advice by any entity for any individual case or situation. Using this website or communicating with Western New York Law Center does not form an attorney-client relationship. There is no attorney-client relationship unless and until you sign an agreement confirming the nature and scope of representation.

Please do not act or refrain from acting based on information or materials on this site. The website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed, professional attorney in your state. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.