In 2011 the Washington State Legislature passed the Foreclosure Fairness Act in an effort to help homeowners who were facing foreclosure. The act requires lenders to notify homeowners of their foreclosure options prior to foreclosure. One important option that many homeowners will qualify for is the Mediation Program. The program is coordinated through the Washington State Department of Commerce. The goal of the mediation is to reach an affordable loan modification or other workout option.
The key feature of the mediation program is that a neutral third party, the mediator in this case, will oversee the process. Our experience is that this provides much better outcomes than when a homeowner attempts to work with a lender or servicer on their own.
Must be owner occupied at the time of receipt of the Notice of Default;
Financial Institution must not be exempt from the program;
Homeowners must be referred by an attorney, housing counselor or housing advocate;
Referrals must be made after a Notice of Default is issued and no later than 20 days after the date that a Notice of Trustee Sale has been recorded in the county in which the property is located.
Potential clients are screened at the time of their initial phone call. The mediation coordinator will make initial determinations with regard to eligibility for the FFA Mediation Program based on information provided by the homeowner.
Once eligibility is determined a one hour consult is set. The first part of the consult is focused on learning the pertinent facts of the case. Afterwards, an attorney will join and discuss options available to the client. The cost of this consultation is $200.00.
If the client decides upon representation in mediation by Stafne Law Firm a fee agreement will be signed stipulating a monthly fee for representation. Please check with our office for the monthly fee amount. Next a referral will be sent in to the Department of Commerce. Stafne Law Firm will assist in helping the homeowner submit the loan modification documents required by the lender or servicer. All parties are bound by statute to mediate in good faith. An attorney from the firm as well as the mediation coordinator will attend the mediation with the client. The mediation process can take several months depending on various factors.
Often times when homeowners get behind in their mortgage payments they experience extreme difficulty in working with their lender or loan servicer. We offer services to clients to assist them in negotiating with the bank to keep their home, if that is their goal, or to negotiate other workout options. The program is structured similarly to the mediation program. There would be an initial consult and then recommendations on what outcomes might be possible. A fee agreement would be signed and the firm would participate in the negotiation of the desired outcome.