Many Arizona homeowners have applied to their mortgage lenders to reduce interest payments through loan modifications to achieve manageable payments each month, but not all lenders have been cooperative or responsive to borrowers. Consequently, some homeowners have filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to stop foreclosure and force lenders to work on their modification requests.

The automatic stay granted by the bankruptcy court when a consumer files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop foreclosure, prevent creditors from continuing with debt collection actions and stop creditor harassment. For the consumer in search of a fresh financial start, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy could bring the lead to the debt relief the person is seeking. One thing it cannot accomplish, however, is compelling a mortgage lender to grant a loan modification.

A lender holding the mortgage on real property is a secured creditor in a Chapter 13 and has the right to ask the bankruptcy court to release the home from the protection of the automatic stay. Once the home is released, a lender is free to move ahead with the foreclosure. It is up to the lender to decide if he or she wants to take the home or work with the homeowner on a loan modification.

A Phoenix bankruptcy attorney might be able to help a person whose financial challenges include being unable to make a monthly mortgage payment. The debt repayment plan of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy might reduce the burden of credit card debt, debts incurred through business ownership and other financial obligations to provide a consumer with manageable payments on non-mortgage debts. The reduced debt achieved through a Chapter 13 might help a consumer in the loan modification process by showing lower overall debt ratios in comparison to income.

Source: Fox Business, “Can bankruptcy court force home loan modification,” Justin Harelik, Feb. 5, 2013

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