Foreclosure Process

Maryland Foreclosure Timeline

Maryland Foreclosure Timeline & Process

In Maryland, foreclosure is conducted either of two ways:

1.) Judicial home foreclosure (through the courts)

2.) Non-judicial process if a “power of sale” clause is included in the mortgage documents or deed of trust.

In a “power of sale” clause, the homeowner pre-authorizes the mortgage company or lender to sell of the property in the event of default, by following certain procedures.

#1 – Judicial Foreclosure

The timeline is set by the circuit court within the limits of the law, typically 90 days or more. A lender or mortgage company must file a complaint against the homeowner and obtain a decree of sale from the circuit court before foreclosure proceedings can begin. The court must be in the county where the property is located.

The circuit court determines whether a default has occurred. And if so, the court will determine the amount of debt, interest and costs. It also will set a reasonable timeframe for the homeowner to make payment to the lender and bring the loan current. The court can order that if the homeowner does not bring the mortgage current within a fixed time set by the court, the property may be sold to satisfy the debt.

#2 – Non-Judicial Foreclosure

The mortgage company has the authority to sell the property according to a timeline determined by law, but still must file notice with the circuit court.

The timeline depends on how much preparation the mortgage company already has done when a foreclosure action is filed in court. Upon the filing, the homeowner will be served an “Order to Docket” or “Complaint to Foreclose.” Maryland law requires that before the property can be sold, the mortgage company must review a homeowner’s circumstances to determine if the homeowner is eligible for a loan modification or other program to avoid foreclosure. This review is called a loss mitigation analysis. If this analysis is completed before the foreclosure action is filed in court, the homeowner receives a “Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit.” The timeline is outlined in Scenario 1.

If the loss mitigation analysis was not completed by the time the mortgage company filed its action in court, the homeowner will be sent a “Preliminary Loss Mitigation Affidavit.” The timeline in outlined in Scenario 2.

Homeowners can request foreclosure mediation, if the home facing foreclosure is the homeowner’s principal residence. This would extend the timelines in both Scenario 1 and 2.

However, when the homeowner is served the Order to Docket or Complaint to Foreclose, the homeowner has 15 days to file the mediation request in the circuit court, pay a $50 fee, and send a second copy to the foreclosure attorney handling the case for the mortgage company; or 15 days from the postmark on the envelope containing this request form (regulations say either).

Through the mediation process, the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings schedules a meeting between the homeowner and a representative of the mortgage company, together with a neutral mediator, 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.

Scenario 1:

Where the Order to Docket or Complaint to Foreclose includes the “Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit.”

Mortgage payment is due 1st of the month. Most lenders give a 15-day grace period for homeowners to send in the payment before the payment is considered delinquent.

Day 17, a late charge notice will be issued to the homeowner. The homeowner will be charged a late fee and possibly other fees.

Day 45, Notice of Intent to Foreclose is sent to homeowner, and this notice must be mailed by regular and certified mail. Foreclosure process has not yet begun, but homeowner must act quickly. Lender must include information about options available to the homeowner other than foreclosure.

Days 46-90, if the homeowner completes and returns a Loss Mitigation Application to the mortgage company, the mortgage company must evaluate the request and document its decision before foreclosure can proceed.(This may extend the timeline.)

Day 90, or 45 days after the Notice of Intent to Foreclose is sent to homeowner, an “Order to Docket” or “Complaint to Foreclose” is filed in circuit court. Mortgage company must include the “Request for Foreclosure Mediation” form with its legal notice to the homeowner. The homeowner has 15 days to complete the request form and file it with the circuit court. The court will refer the request to the Office of Administrative Hearings. The office must conduct the mediation within 60 days after it receives the request from the court.

Day 105, or 15 days after “Order to Docket” or “Complaint to Foreclose” papers are served on homeowner, is the last day a homeowner can request foreclosure mediation.

Day 110, if foreclosure mediation is requested, circuit court sends the request to the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings by this day.

Day 135, or 45 days after “Order to Docket” or “Complaint to Foreclose” is served, the property may be sold, if 1) the homeowner had not requested foreclosure mediation by day 105 (or within 15 days after “Order to Docket” is served); or 2) if a motion to stay the sale has not been filed in court.

Day 170, foreclosure mediation must be completed if it had been requested by day 105 — unless postponement is requested.

Day 185, foreclosure sale can proceed unless an agreement was reached through mediation or a motion to stay the sale is filed in court.

Scenario 2:

Where the Order to Docket or Complaint to Foreclose includes the “Preliminary Loss Mitigation Affidavit.”

  • Mortgage payment is due 1st of the month. Most lenders give a 15-day grace period for homeowners to send in the payment before the payment is considered delinquent.
  • Day 17, a late charge notice will be issued to the homeowner. The homeowner will be charged a late fee and possibly other fees.
  • Day 45, Notice of Intent to Foreclose is sent to homeowner and this notice must be mailed by regular and certified mail. Foreclosure process has not begun yet, but homeowner must act quickly.Lender must include information about options available to the homeowner other than foreclosure.
  • Days 46-90, if the homeowner completes and returns a Loss Mitigation Application to the mortgage company, the mortgage company must evaluate the request and document its decision before foreclosure can proceed.(This may extend the timeline.)
  • Day 90, or 45 days after the Notice of Intent to Foreclose is sent, an “Order to Docket” or “Complaint to Foreclose” is filed in circuit court.
  • Day 118, the “Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit” and the form for homeowner to request foreclosure mediation is sent by regular and certified mail.
  • Day 133, or 15 days after the “Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit” is sent to homeowner, is the last day homeowner can request foreclosure mediation.
  • Day 138, if foreclosure mediation is requested, circuit court sends the request to the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings by this day.
  • Day 148, property may be sold, if the homeowner had not requested foreclosure mediation by day 133, or if a motion to stay the sale has not been filed in court.
  • Day 198, foreclosure mediation (if it had been requested by day 133) must be completed unless postponement is requested.
  • Day 213, foreclosure sale can proceed unless an agreement was reached through mediation or a motion to stay the sale is filed in court.

Maryland non-judicial foreclosure has 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.) In a judicial foreclosure, the court may grant a right of redemption depending on circumstances.


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