South Carolina Foreclosure Intervention

In South Carolina's foreclosure intervention program, you and your lender explore options to avoid foreclosure.

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.)

How Foreclosures Work in South Carolina

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.)

What Is Foreclosure Intervention?

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:

  • loan modification
  • forbearance agreement
  • repayment plan
  • short sale, or
  • deed in lieu of foreclosure. (To get information about each of these options, see our Alternatives to Foreclosure area.)

The South Carolina foreclosure intervention process is very similar to a typical mortgage workout process (calledloss 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.

Eligibility for Foreclosure Intervention

You can use the South Carolina foreclosure intervention process if:

  • you live in the home, and
  • the home is your principal residence. (This means that vacation homes and investment properties are not eligible.)

Notice of Your Right to Foreclosure Intervention

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.

The Foreclosure Is Postponed During Foreclosure Intervention

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:

  • it served you with a notice of the right to foreclosure intervention
  • the lender received and reviewed all of your documents in order to evaluate your eligibility for foreclosure intervention
  • that after completing the foreclosure intervention process, it determined that you did not qualify for a loan modification or other form of loss mitigation and you and the lender were unable to reach any other agreement; and
  • it mailed a denial notice to you telling you that you didn't qualify for a loan modification or another form of loss mitigation. (This notice must also state that you get 30 days to file and serve an answer to the foreclosure summons and complaint.)

Court Ordered Mediation

A court that is overseeing a foreclosure action may require that the parties participate in mediation.

What Is 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:

  • the borrowers
  • their lender (or mortgage servicer), and
  • an impartial third-party (the mediator).

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.

Should You Participate in Foreclosure Intervention?

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.

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