News that mortgage service providers failed to accurately document the seizure and sale of tens of thousands of homes have caused a public outcry. Robo-signers verified the truth of foreclosure documents without even reading them. This issue is serious because some homeowners are being denied their due process rights governing private property. Imagine a bank, incorrectly tried to foreclose on your property. Insane! Some lenders, such as JP Morgan Chase temporarily halted foreclosures to review paperwork.
In an effort to combat this potential huge problem, the New York Law Journal reports that the New York State court system yesterday directed lawyers for lenders to file an affirmation that they have taken reasonable steps to verify the accuracy of papers they file to support residential foreclosures. Here is a copy of the suggested attorney affirmation.
Plaintiff’s attorneys now must verify:
(a) they have personally reviewed plaintiff’s (banks) documents and records relating to this case;
(b) has reviewed the Summons and Complaint, and all other papers filed in this matter in support of foreclosure; and
(c) has confirmed both the factual accuracy of these court filings and the accuracy of the notarizations contained therein. This portion is an effort to combat “robo-signers.”
New York Lawyers are already under an obligation to certify that the documents are accurate. Somehow, the court hopes that this extra verification will hold lawyers extra accountable.
I doubt that this will do anything to halt the tide of foreclosures based on messy paperwork. For example, I don’t believe that a judge will sanction a lawyer based on paperwork that an attorney handles on a per diem basis. These lawyers only know about the case the day of the court appearance and are only trying to make a buck. It is up to the client to provide the proper paperwork. It is the client, not the lawyer, who should be held accountable.
What do you think of the new foreclosure verification affirmation? Do you think it will help stop foreclosures based on shoddy paperwork?
If you have a question regarding foreclosures in New York, contact me at the Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson at 212-233-0666.