Thursday, December 10, 2009

Foreclosure Actions and the Community

By John DiMotto

Every Monday morning, the Milwaukee County Civil Division Circuit Courts deal with foreclosure actions. It is not unusual for each court to handle 15 - 20 such cases every Monday. These are sad cases on three fronts. First, these cases represent the shattered dreams of people who sought the "American Dream" - to be a homeowner. Second, these cases have a direct affect on our economy since the mortgagees are usually banks who are suffering a financial loss. Third, when confirmation of the sheriff sale occurs, it usually involves the bank buying the property, since no one is bidding on the property other than the bank since there is not a lot of money that banks are willing to extend to the public to be able to buy these homes, and, as a result the property usually ends up sitting vacant and can become a blight on the community.

What is very unfortunate is that not many of the homeowners even come to court to try to save the property. It is as if they have given up. If the homeowner does show up most judges will encourage the homeowner and the lender time to try to work out a resolution that will be a "win-win-win" - that is, the homeowner gets to keep his/her home, the lender gets its money, the community doesn't have another empty home which can be a blight on the neighborhood.

We do have a Mediation Program which attempts to bring the lenders and the borrowers together to try to work something out, but we don't have a lot of data as to the success of these mediations at this time. Hopefully, this program can bring about positive results.

As you can see, the law and the courts are not all about murder and rape.

1 comment:

  1. Another great post, John -- your last line might even serve as your mission. Understanding courts from the judge's point of view means helping outsiders understand that "the law and the courts are not all aobut murder and rape." Thanks for telling our story.