Foreclosure Process

District of Columbia Foreclosure Timeline (Washington D.C.)

Washington D.C. Foreclosure Timeline

The District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) has a non-judicial process. For foreclosure to occur, a “power of sale” clause must be included in the loan documents that authorizes the mortgage company to sell the property if the homeowner is in default. The power of sale clause may specify the time, place and terms of the sale, and those procedures must be followed within the limits of the law.

If the “power of sale” clause is not included in the mortgage documents (or deed of trust), the mortgage company must obtain a court order specifying the terms and timing of the sale.

If neither the mortgage documents nor a court specify otherwise, the timeline may proceed as follows under D.C. law.

Foreclosure Timeline in Days

  • Mortgage payment is due 1st of the month. Most lenders provide a 15-day grace period for homeowners to send in the payment before the payment is considered delinquent.
  • Day 17, a late charge notice is issued to the homeowner. The homeowner will be charged a late fee and possibly other fees.
  • Day 18 and thereafter, the mortgage company likely will continue to contact the homeowner to try to resolve the delinquency.
  • Day 30, Notice of Default is mailed to homeowner by certified mail and the foreclosure process proceeds.

The District of Columbia allows foreclosure mediation, and the timeline would be extended with mediation.

Without Mediation:

If the homeowner decides not to participate in mediation or has missed the deadline to elect mediation:

  • Day 30, homeowner is in default, and if the Notice of Default already has been sent, then a 30-day notice of foreclosure sale can be sent at any point the mortgage company determines to proceed with foreclosure. Mortgage company must send the written notice of sale to the homeowner by certified mail at least 30 days prior to a foreclosure sale. This notice also must be sent to the D.C. mayor or his designated agent. The 30-day period before the sale begins the day the mayor receives the notice. This notice is in addition to any other notices required by a court or the mortgage documents.
  • Day 60 or thereafter, after 30-day notice of foreclosure sale expires, foreclosure sale can proceed at anytime.

The foreclosure timeline without mediation can be completed in two to four months, or longer, depending when the mortgage company mails the Notice of Default to the homeowner and then mails the 30-day notice of foreclosure sale– unless the homeowner’s mortgage documents or deed of trust specify a different timeline.

With Mediation:

The D.C. foreclosure mediation process extends the timeline, but only if the homeowner formally requests mediation and submits the form, a $50 fee, and other required information by the 30-day deadline.

The mediation program arranges a meeting between the homeowner and a representative of the mortgage company, together with a qualified mediator or neutral third party, to discuss alternatives to foreclosure. The mediator cannot dictate a resolution, but merely tries to help both sides find a solution that is satisfactory to both.

  • Day 30, mortgage company can mail the Notice of Default to homeowner. Homeowners have 30 days from the date the Notice of Default is mailed (not received) to elect to participate in foreclosure mediation. The homeowner must complete the D.C. Mediation Election form, include a non-refundable $50 fee, and mail tax returns and other financial documents and information to the D.C. Mediation Administrator and to the mortgage company within the 30-day deadline.
  • The mortgage company is required to participate in the mediation process if homeowner requests it. A foreclosure sale cannot proceed until a mediation certificate is issued by the D.C. Mediation Administrator.
  • A homeowner who does not meet the 30-day deadline to request mediation forfeits the right to mediation – unless good cause can be given to the D.C. Mediation Administrator.
  • Day Notice of Default is mailed plus 45 days, mediation must begin within 45 days of the date Notice of Default is mailed.
  • Day Notice of Default is mailed plus 90 days, mediation must conclude within 90 days from the date Notice of Default is mailed. Both sides may agree to extend mediation for an additional 30 days beyond the 90 days. If a homeowner fails to act in good faith, a mediation certificate will be issued to the lender and the lender may proceed with foreclosure.
  • Mediation Agreement plus 5 days, any settlement reached through mediation must be in writing and executed by the parties within 5 business days. The agreement may be either a resolution of the delinquency, such as a loan modification, or the homeowner agrees to relinquish the home.
  • If the homeowner breaches the terms of a mediation settlement agreement, the mortgage company may apply for a mediation certificate, which may be issued within 10 days of receiving the request, and can proceed with foreclosure.

The foreclosure timeline with mediation can be completed in 6 to 8 months, or longer, depending on the date the mortgage company mails the Notice of Default — unless the homeowner’s mortgage documents or deed of trust specify a different timeline.

The District of Columbia offers no right of redemption (giving homeowners a certain number of days to buy back their home by paying all delinquent payments, fees, interest and other charges.)


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