What to Expect from Foreclosure Mediation
A foreclosure case filed with the Court of Common Pleas can be referred into foreclosure mediation, but Board of Revision cases are not eligible. Cases enter foreclosure mediation through a referral from the foreclosure magistrate or the approval of the Dispute Resolution Program (after it reviews a request for mediation from the homeowner or another of the foreclosure parties). Mediation can be requested using the Request for Mediation form. Once referred into mediation, a Court mediator will be assigned to the case and two mediation dates will be scheduled: a pre-mediation conference and a full mediation hearing. The Court can also stay the legal proceedings while the case is in mediation.
During the mediation process, the foreclosure mediator will help the homeowner and other parties discuss and thoroughly review options that could resolve the foreclosure case by agreement.
The foreclosure mediator is neutral and impartial, but unlike a judge or magistrate, the mediator does not have the authority to make any findings of fact or law to resolve the foreclosure. The mediator also cannot give legal advice. Some of the common ways foreclosure cases are resolved in mediation are:
- Through a loan modification
- Repayment plan
- Short sale
- Deed in lieu or consent to foreclosure with waiver of deficiency.
If the parties cannot agree how to resolve the foreclosure, the case is returned to the foreclosure magistrate for the case to move forward.
At the pre-mediation conference, the mediator will set court ordered deadlines for the homeowner and the other parties to provide the documents necessary for the mediation process. If the documents aren’t provided by the deadline, the mediator can terminate the mediation process and cancel the full mediation hearing.
All parties and their attorneys, if they have one, can be ordered to appear at the full mediation hearing to discuss what options are available to resolve the foreclosure. The mediator can schedule follow-up mediation hearings, if necessary. Failure of the homeowner or another party to meet the requirements of the foreclosure mediation program can result in the mediation process being terminated, additional hearings being scheduled, or the Court dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint.