In mediation, the homeowner, the foreclosing bank, and an impartial mediator come together with the goal of working out an alternative to foreclosure. Participating in mediation doesn’t guarantee you'll be able to avoid foreclosure, but you might be able to figure out a way to keep your home or exit the property under terms you can live with.
Read on to learn about Connecticut’s foreclosure mediation program.
Mediation, in general, is a form of alternative dispute resolution. In foreclosure mediation, the homeowner and the foreclosing bank work together—with the assistance of a neutral mediator who facilitates the process—to resolve the mortgage delinquency.
At the mediation, the parties discuss the borrower’s financial situation and various options to avoid foreclosure, like a loan modification, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, or other option. (To learn more about different foreclosure alternatives, see Avoiding Foreclosure: Basic Workout Options.)
In Connecticut, if you choose to participate in mediation, you’ll also go through a “premediation” process in which you’ll meet with the mediator, without a bank representative being present, before the mediation occurs.
Connecticut established its foreclosure mediation program in 2008 in response to the record number of foreclosures happening in the state.
To participate, the loan servicer—on behalf of the foreclosing bank—must have already initiated the foreclosure against the homeowner. (To get basic information about the Connecticut foreclosure process, see our Key Aspects of State Foreclosure Law: 50-State Chart.)
To qualify for the program, the homeowner seeking mediation must own the property and occupy the home as his or her primary residence. The property has to be a one-, two-, three-, or four-family family residence located in Connecticut and, in most cases, the homeowner must be listed a borrower on the promissory note secured by the mortgage that’s being foreclosed. (Certain successors in interest may participate in the program if they meet all other eligibility requirements.)
The foreclosure starts when the bank’s attorney files a complaint in court and then serves a copy to the homeowners, along with a summons to appear in court. A notice about the foreclosure mediation program is included with the foreclosure complaint and summons.
To participate in mediation, you have to file a Foreclosure Mediation Certificate within 15 days after the return date on the summons. (The “return date” is a date that the court sets to keep track of deadlines for activity in a case. For more information about the return date and other legal terminology, see the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch’s Common Legal Words page.)
If you don’t file the Foreclosure Mediation Certificate, you might still be able to participate in mediation, but you’ll need to get permission from the court first.
You don’t have to pay a fee to participate in mediation.
Foreclosure cases that are in the mediation program are subject to a litigation hold for up to eight months from the case’s return date. During this time, neither the borrower nor the bank may make any motion, request, or demand of the other except those relating to the mediation program—except the borrower is allowed to file an answer, special defenses, and counterclaims. If the borrower files any other motion, request, or demand regarding the bank (other than a motion to dismiss contesting the court’s jurisdiction), the eight-month postponement is no longer is in effect.
The court can’t enter a judgment against the borrower unless the mediation period expires or ends; and if less than eight months elapse after the return date, it has been 15 days from the termination date, and there isn’t a pending motion or request to extend the mediation period.
Connecticut's foreclosure mediation program is scheduled to sunset on July 1, 2023. (The program applies to foreclosure actions with a return date up to June 30, 2023.)
You don’t have to hire a lawyer to represent you in your foreclosure mediation, but it’s often a good idea. A lawyer might be able to help you negotiate a way to avoid foreclosure and can protect your legal rights in the process. Also, if you’re thinking about filing a response to the foreclosure lawsuit—or any other motion with the court—consider talking to an attorney beforehand to discuss the consequences of doing so and your various options.
You might also consider consulting with a HUD-approved housing counselor to learn more about foreclosure avoidance options.
For more information on Connecticut’s foreclosure mediation program, go to the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch website.