In Vermont, before the bank can take your home, the bank has to sue you in court. The court case starts when a sheriff gives you legal papers called a Summons and Complaint. Or, if the sheriff can't find you, sometimes the sheriff will give the papers to someone who lives with you or leave the papers on your door. All of this is called "serving" you with the lawsuit. This is how the lawsuit starts. The bank also sends the Summons and Complaint to your county Superior Court.
- Banks often say "you are in the foreclosure process" or "we are referring you for foreclosure" or "we are already foreclosing on you." But the bank might not have started a lawsuit yet. Also, before the bank starts the lawsuit, they should send you a letter that says they are "accelerating" your mortgage and the full amount of the loan is due. If you are not sure if a lawsuit has started, call the Superior Court for the county you live in and ask if a foreclosure case has been started against you.
- When you are served with papers for a foreclosure lawsuit, it is very important to talk to a lawyer right away. You must give the court a written response within 20 days of when the sheriff served the papers. If you can, get legal help when you write your response to the court.
- If you get served with papers that say you have a right to mediation, you should fill in your name, address and phone number on the form and send it to the court right away. Mediation will stop the foreclosure case and get you a meeting with the bank and a neutral person called a mediator. At the meeting, the bank has to consider you for an affordable loan modification or other options that could help you save your home.