Foreclosure Mediation

In February 2008, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer announced The Foreclosure Mediation Program Model, the first of its kind in the nation. It is an 11-step model designed by the Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court of Ohio. This Model was designed for courts to modify the model, documents and forms based on their local needs, resources and community, while balancing the needs of all stakeholders creating variations in the model between counties.

The Model follows the rules of civil procedure, consistent with all other civil cases, while giving borrowers the same access to mediation that has been regularly available for other case types for more than a decade. The Model recognizes that mutually beneficial agreements do not always result in keeping people in their homes. In some cases, an agreement that is both commercially reasonable and sustainable over time cannot be achieved. However, mediation has proven successful in resolving cases by creating a transition for borrowers to find alternate housing and avail themselves of other resources to manage a difficult situation. The Model also recognizes however, that some foreclosure cases need to be resolved through litigation.

The Model recommends the use of HUD-certified housing counselors to assist the borrowers in completing, compiling, and providing the lender/servicer financial information before the mediation that is necessary to reach an agreement. The result is a more efficient and effective mediation session because all parties are fully prepared, thereby minimizing the requirement for an additional session due to a lack of information.

Some courts are also conducting pre-mediation conference calls to ensure that all necessary information has been exchanged prior to the mediation and to confirm attendance on the scheduled date. Additionally, most courts allow lenders/servicers to designate an individual with the required authority to participate in the mediation by phone, so as to minimize the cost of fees that may be charged to the homeowner, especially when the lender/servicers is located in another state or country. However, there are a few courts that require a representative of the lender/servicer to appear in person, regardless of location.

The attorneys at Felty & Lembright Co., LPA have participated in hundreds of mediation sessions throughout the State of Ohio subsequent to the implementation of The Foreclosure Mediation Program Model. As a result, our attorneys and staff are well versed in all facets of foreclosure mediation, including the differing requirements for each county. As a result of this knowledge and experience, we offer our clients the best opportunity for a successful resolution of the foreclosure at the mediation session.