Some states have taken steps to help homeowners explore ways to avoid foreclosure. In South Carolina, an administrative order by the Supreme Court created a foreclosure intervention process to help struggling homeowners.
Read on to learn more about how South Carolina’s foreclosure intervention process works and how you can benefit from participating in the process if you’re behind in your mortgage payments. (To learn about other options for dealing with foreclosure, visit Nolo's Foreclosure section.)
Foreclosures in South Carolina are judicial, which means the lender files a lawsuit in state court in order to foreclose the home. The lender serves the borrower a summons and complaint, and the borrower gets 30 days to file an answer (a response) with the court. (To learn about specific foreclosure laws in South Carolina, see Nolo’s Summary of South Carolina’s Foreclosure Laws.)
The goal of South Carolina's foreclosure intervention process is to make sure that homeowners can explore options to avoid a foreclosure, such as a:
The South Carolina foreclosure intervention process is very similar to a typical mortgage workout process (called“loss mitigation” in the mortgage industry) -- that is, the borrower submits an application and the lender determines whether the borrower qualifies for an alternative to foreclosure. The main difference is that with South Carolina’s foreclosure intervention process, the lender's attorney must thoroughly document each step before the lender can proceed with the foreclosure.
You can use the South Carolina foreclosure intervention process if:
The lender’s attorney must provide you with a notice of your right to foreclosure intervention along with the foreclosure summons and complaint. (Learn more about the difference between a foreclosure summons and complaint.)
You then get 30 days to request foreclosure intervention. If you don't make the request, the foreclosure goes forward.
If you participate in foreclosure intervention, the lender or servicer must postpone the foreclosure action until you complete the process. Specifically, a foreclosure hearing or sale cannot take place until the lender’s attorney certifies to the court that:
A court that is overseeing a foreclosure action may require that the parties participate in mediation.
The goal of mediation is to help the homeowner and lender come to an agreement that avoids foreclosure. The following parties participate in the mediation:
At the mediation, the parties discuss the borrower's financial situation and try to find a way for the homeowner to either keep the home or else give up the home without going through a foreclosure.
Foreclosure intervention and mediation don't guarantee that you’ll avoid foreclosure, but it doesn’t hurt to participate. You might get a loan modification that makes your mortgage payment more affordable or you might qualify for a loss mitigation option that you hadn’t previously considered. For more information about foreclosure intervention in South Carolina, read The Supreme Court of South Carolina’s FAQ about foreclosures.