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Foreclosure requirements in Washington, D.C.

District of Columbia homeowners may be interested in some information on how the foreclosure process works under local law. The statute outlines the very strict requirements that must be followed in order to avoid a court hearing when the foreclosure is not contested.

In the District of Columbia, the title to real property that is subject to a loan is held in trust until the indebtedness is paid off. A deed of trust is the name of the document securing this title. In order for the lender to foreclose on the property, the deed of trust must contain a power of sale clause. This gives the lender the authority to sell the property to satisfy the defaulted mortgage loan. In cases where the home buyer defaults on the loan, the lender may start the foreclosure process.

Foreclosures in the District of Columbia are non-judicial, and as a result there are very specific notice requirements. First, a certified letter containing notice of the foreclosure must be sent to the debtor's last known address. The default must be described in the notice, which must also contain other specific information. Second, a copy of the notice must also be sent to the mayor.

When there is an uncontested foreclosure, the process generally takes 60 days. This may be extended by delays from improper service of notice and other issues. If a debtor wishes to contest the foreclosure, they must do so by filing an action in court or by filing for bankruptcy. An attorney with experience in these matters may be able to help with the foreclosure defense process. The attorney may be helpful in filing the appropriate court documents and assisting with other available options.

Source: foreclosure.com, "District of Columbia Foreclosure Laws", September 14, 2014

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