Last year the Webster’s dictionary added “unfriend” to their current lexicon of American language. Unfortunately, due to shady mortgage practices, “Robo-Sign” may join the likes of “unfriend” as a new reflection of popular culture.
Robo-Signing is a mortgage company practice of allowing barely qualified employees to prepare foreclosure paperwork with out verifying the underlying documents. Often times the employee will sign thousands of affidavits a day supporting the bank’s contention that the homeowner has defaulted and as a result the home must be sold at a foreclosure sale. Savy consumer bankruptcy attorneys across the country have cried fowl about these boilerplate affidavits for years and just now the Department of Justice have discovered the sloppy paperwork.
What does that mean for an Alabama homeowner facing foreclosure. The answer is not so simple. Foreclosure sales are covered in Title 35 (Property) Articles 1, 1A, 2, 3 §35-10-1 et. seq. Alabama is a non-judicial foreclosure state. That means that to foreclose on your house in Alabama, all the mortgage company has to do it is hire an attorney to notify you of the the foreclosure sale and run notice of the foreclosure in the local newspaper for 30 days. Mortgage companies are not required to file the foreclosure paperwork with the court which means no judicial figure oversees the proceeding. If an affidavit is not correct, there is little a homeowner can do short of filing for bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure. The interesting thing is that landlords are required to file judicial evictions, however, a homeowner in Alabama is not allowed that same courtesy. Alabama was the last state to join the foreclosure investigation only after news stories reported that 49 other states had joined in the probe. A half-hearted attempt to appear to care about it’s citizens.