Consumer Assistance Program : University of Vermont

University of Vermont

Consumer Hotline:  Toll Free In VT (800) 649-2424 or (802) 656-3183

Vermont Department of Financial Regulation's

Steps to Stay in Your Home:
Legal Resources:

Vermont Legal Aid and Law Line:
Free legal assistance
(800) 889-2047

Mediation Request Form

Vermont Bar Association's
Lawyer Referral Service

(800) 639-7036

Mortgage Issues and Foreclosure

As more homeowners are facing foreclosure and other mortgage troubles, an increasing number of scams have emerged trying to take advantage of homeowners' concern over losing their home.  Generally, if you wish to obtain a loan modification, the first contact you make should be to your lender.  Additionally, you may contact the Banking Division of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation's Mortgage Assistance Program toll free in Vermont at 1-888-568-4547 for help with determining your options.

National Mortgage Settlement

Attorney General William Sorrell recently joined a landmark 49-state settlement with the five largest national mortgage servicers. If your mortgage is serviced by:
  • Bank of America
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Citibank
  • Wells Fargo, or
  • GMAC/Ally
there may be additional assistance for you. Find out more on our Settlement Help page.

How do I know if a "mortgage rescue" company is reputable?

Generally, any business offering to assist you with resolving mortgage problems should be licensed to do business in Vermont with the Dept. of Banking.  You can look up lenders and service providers in the Banking Division's licensee database to determine if a company is properly licensed in Vermont.

Additionally, there are non-profit and governmental agencies ready to assist you.  Call the Banking Division at 1-888-568-4547 for more information.

I am refinancing my home, what should I look out for?

Generally, be sure you understand how the loan works, what it will cost, and what the terms are.  Just because your payment decreases, doesn't mean the loan is a better deal.  Be sure you know whether your loan will be at a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan, or whether it will vary and, if so, how much and when.

Are you at risk of foreclosure?

If you are at risk of foreclosure, there are steps you can take that may help you stay in your home.  Contact the Banking Division's Mortgage Assistance Program for assistance and advice on working with your lender.  You can also contact one of  Vermont's Home Ownership Centers to work with a counselor who provide support and assistance.  Get in touch with your lender as soon as you can to see what programs may be available through your lender to help you stay in your home.

Mediation Law in Vermont

Vermont law, effective July 1st, 2010 provides Vermont homeowners in foreclosure with the right to meet with a representative of their lender or mortgage servicer to discuss options for staying in their home.  This meeting is facilitated by a neutral third party called a mediator.

The  foreclosure mediation law applies to home loans that are subject to President Obama’s Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP), whether or not the loan has already qualified for a HAMP modification (reduction in mortgage payments).  Going through foreclosure mediation may help save your home.

Are you already in foreclosure?

If you are in foreclosure, it is important that you be involved in the legal process to protect your rights.  Under the new law, there are steps you can take to try and negotiate a resolution with your lender.
Contact the Court to request mediation.
Write to the court's civil division where your case is being handled as soon as possible, and tell the court that you want to be involved in your foreclosure case. Advise the court in writing that you want to request mediation.  You may find additional information about the mediation process, and a Request for Mediation form on the Vermont Legal Aid website.

Even if you don’t know if your loan is subject to HAMP, you should still write the court and ask to participate in your case, and in mediation (in non-HAMP-loan cases, you may still be eligible for mediation, though not to a HAMP modification).

In a foreclosure case filed before July 1, 2010, a HAMP-loan mediation may normally be requested up to five months after judgment has been entered. However, if foreclosure mediation is requested after judgment, the homeowner must show that there is “good cause” for the late request.

In a foreclosure case filed on or after July 1, 2010, a HAMP-loan mediation may be requested up to four months after judgment is entered.  As there may be some exceptions, you should check with the court to be sure your case is eligible for mediation.
What happens when you request mediation?
Once you ask for mediation, the mediator will contact you to schedule the meeting.  A few weeks before the meeting, you will need to send the mediator financial information including copies of your two most recent pay stubs or proof of other income.  It may be helpful to have an attorney represent and advise you in this process.  Homeowners who cannot afford an attorney may contact Vermont Legal Aid and/or the Vermont Volunteer Law Project.

Last modified January 10 2014 07:52 PM

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