On April 14, 2011, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law the Foreclosure Fairness Act of 2011.
The law provides Washington homeowners facing foreclosure the opportunity to be referred by a housing counselor or attorney to mediation with their lender to review available options to keep their home.
The law became effective on July 22, 2011.
What is foreclosure mediation?
Mediation is a process where a neutral third party (the mediator) helps the homeowner and the lender reach a fair, voluntary, and negotiated agreement whenever possible. Foreclosure mediation programs have proven effective in reducing foreclosures in other states.
Who is eligible to participate in the Foreclosure Fairness Act Mediation Program?
Homeowners may be eligible for mediation if they received a Notice of Default from their lender and lived in the home when the foreclosure process started. Homeowners who received a Notice of Default on or before July 22, 2011, are eligible to be referred to mediation up to one day prior to the date of their scheduled trustee sale. Homeowners who received a Notice of Default after July 22, 2011, are eligible to be referred to mediation until 20 days after the date a notice of trustee sale has been recorded at the county where the property is located.
All lenders (or “beneficiaries”) are covered by the mediation requirement, except financial institutions that have conducted less than 250 foreclosure sales during the preceding calendar year and claimed their exemption status to Department of Commerce .
How do I request mediation?
Homeowners cannot self-refer into the Mediation Program . An attorney or counselor must refer you to foreclosure mediation by sending a referral form to the Department of Commerce . Counselors are provided free of charge to Washington homeowners and can be reached at 1-877-894-HOME (4663). They are trained to help homeowners understand their options and determine the best course of action, including referring them into the Mediation Program , if the homeowner is eligible for mediation.
Although not required, it may be to your benefit to request that they also represent you during the mediation session(s). The lender is typically represented by at least one attorney.
How much will participating in foreclosure mediation cost?
Housing counseling is FREE. If referred to mediation, the homeowner and lender split the mediation fees, which combined must not exceed $600. The fee must be paid to the mediator prior to mediation. (If more than one mediation session is needed, additional costs may apply.)
Free counseling provided
Foreclosure prevention counseling is provided free of charge to homeowners. Homeowner counseling is funded from program fees paid by lenders into the Foreclosure Fairness Account. . To talk to a counselor, call 1.877.894.HOME (4663). Call the Northwest Justice Project toll-free 1-888-201-1014 to obtain an attorney .
Questions? Contact the Department of Commerce
More information is available from the Department of Commerce at www.commerce.wa.gov/foreclosures.
For additional specific program questions, you may contact:
Phone: (360) 725-3040
Foreclosure Fairness Act Brochures
- Foreclosure Fairness Act Brochure Hard Copy Order Form
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