Georgia Foreclosures Continue at Lightning Speed
As the nation determines its collective next step in regards to foreclosures and the allegations of improper foreclosure practices recently made against major lenders, experts say that Georgia foreclosures are unlikely to slow down in the coming months and, possibly, years. This is largely because of certain unique sections of Georgia’s foreclosure laws, which place the legal (and corresponding financial) burden on homeowners to fight against Georgia foreclosure in court.
According to legal experts and advocates, Georgia law differs from many other states in that it places the legal burden of disputing a foreclosure on the homeowner being foreclosed upon. If that homeowner believes the foreclosure paperwork may have been rushed through by the lender or otherwise improperly handled, he has every right to fight the foreclosure and the lender in court. However, if a homeowner is already in big enough financial trouble where he cannot make his mortgage payments, the likelihood that he will be able to afford an attorney or even to file a motion in Georgia courts is slim to none.
In addition, there are very few legal hoops that Georgia lenders have to jump through in order to initiate and proceed with a foreclosure. There is no lawsuit required; a lender merely has to declare that the homeowner is in default under the terms of his mortgage, and a foreclosure will be allowed. In addition, banks only have to publicize the foreclosure once a week for four weeks before they can sell the home on the courthouse steps.
It is a fast process for homeowners who have no real viable options. Some may choose bankruptcy to save their homes, but many simply give up, seeing no hope in sight. Meanwhile, lenders sell foreclosed homes to the lowest bidder, says bankruptcy trustee Walter Kelley. “They are foreclosing because a lot of them want to just get these bad mortgages off their books,” he said. “Going ahead, take the hit, and be done with it.”
Source: WALB, “No sign of South Georgia foreclosures slowing”, Jim Wallace, 17 November 2010