Judge Nancy Margaret Russo has announced new foreclosure procedures which are now in effect. These changes affect Plaintiff’s obligations in foreclosure cases assigned to her docket. Each new procedure is numbered and discussed below.
1. Plaintiff will be required to file a form regarding the status of the subject property within thirty (30) days of filing the foreclosure complaint. The Judge’s office has advised it will be providing a prescribed form which is currently being drafted and will become available soon. Failure to timely file the same will result in dismissal of a foreclosure case without prejudice.
2. Any request to cancel a sheriff’s sale must be made by motion filed at least seven (7) days prior to the scheduled sheriff’s sale. This motion must demonstrate good cause for the requested relief. The charge-off of a loan is insufficient to demonstrate good cause. Likewise, any motion to vacate a sheriff’s sale must demonstrate good cause for the requested relief to be granted.
3. There will no longer be a motion hearing required where a motion for default judgment is filed.
4. Where Plaintiff obtains a decree of foreclosure, it will be required to request a sheriff’s sale within thirty (30) days of obtaining its judgment. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in a show cause hearing and could lead to the imposition of sanctions against Plaintiff. If a show cause hearing is set, the court will likely order the CEO, CFO or other party designated by the CEO or CFO who is responsible for writing the mortgage at issue to appear in person and show cause why he/she should not be held in contempt.
5. Where the property goes unsold at sheriff’s sale, Plaintiff will be required to re-request another sale within thirty (30) days of return of the order of sale to the Court Clerk. Plaintiff is required to continue rerequesting additional sales until the property sells or it is relieved of this obligation by Court order for good cause shown. Again, failure to comply with this requirement will result in a show cause hearing and could lead to the imposition of sanctions against Plaintiff.
6. Where Plaintiff is the purchaser at sheriff’s sale, Judge Russo will allow Plaintiff to surrender the property to the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation (“CCLRC”). The CCLRC is authorized by state statute enacted in April and approved for use in Cuyahoga County by its local government in May of this year. This new law provides for the establishment of nonprofit corporations to promote, develop, manage, and facilitate the reclamation, holding, rehabilitation, and reutilization of vacant, abandoned, tax foreclosed, and other real property. The CCLRC’s mission is to help return vacant and abandoned properties in Cuyahoga County to productive use.
The CCLRC may acquire foreclosed properties held by banks, government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or federal and state agencies. Overall, it will acquire real estate lost to tax foreclosures and accept donated properties at its discretion.
CAVEAT EMPTOR: Where mortgagee purchases a property at sheriff’s sale, there is no guaranty the CCLRC will accept donated property even if the transfer is approved by Judge Russo.
Ultimately, our office continues to monitor this developing situation and will advise of any forthcoming changes or additions to the procedures outlined above.