Foreclosure & Alternatives Law
Foreclosure Laws in Virginia
Are you facing foreclosure? Maybe you have not gotten the notice yet, but you know it's coming because you have not been making your monthly payments. There are hundreds of reasons why people just like you run into this problem every year in Virginia, so you need to know how the law works when it comes to foreclosure —- and what options you may have under those laws —- regardless of why you have found yourself in this position. Below are some of the specifics about the process, but you may also want to work with legal professionals as things move forward.
The Notice of Sale
Your home cannot be taken from you or sold at auction without notice being given. This is done with a notice of sale, and it must show up at least two weeks (14 days) prior to that sale. This notice can be given to you in person or sent to you in the mail.
Additionally, the notice of sale has to be put in the newspaper. This can be done for five days in a row, or it can be done just once a week, for a period of four months. The only time this can be avoided is if the paperwork states otherwise. The home can then be sold as soon as eight days after the initial publication, and the house cannot be sold more than one month (30 days) after the final publication.
If you are thinking about having the loan reinstated before the home is sold, you should know that the law makes no provisions to allow this. If your mortgage paperwork does allow it, this can be done, but that is decided on a case-by-case basis, as all mortgages are different. The law also says nothing about redeeming the home after it has been sold, which is available in other states.
For members of the military or the National Guard, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act —- which is also known as SCRA -— applies. If you are on active duty, there is a stay on the mortgage proceedings until you return. If legal action is taken anyway, it can be thrown out of court.
You may have heard that one way to avoid foreclosure is by declaring for bankruptcy, but this is not strictly true. What will happen is that your bankruptcy case takes precedence, which leads to a stay on the foreclosure. A stay is temporary, though, so declaring bankruptcy does not mean you do not owe the money for the mortgage, and the foreclosure can begin after the bankruptcy case is over. However, this can buy you some time, and it may allow you to eliminate other debt so that you can pay your mortgage and keep your home.
In some states, you have to be given weeks of notice before you are asked to leave the house, but that is not the case in Virginia. You might get a notice asking you to leave within five days, and then you may be evicted. If you are evicted, the lender can contact the authorities, but they are under no obligation to tell you that they have done so.