An Office of Court Administration report shows substantial growth in mortgage foreclosure filings in New York. The report shows that in 2013, through October, nearly 34,000 new mortgage foreclosure cases were filed. That is on track to surpass the number of mortgage foreclosure cases in 2011 and 2012 combined.
The mortgage foreclosure crisis was supposed to be easing. What explains this dramatic rise? The report contends that mortgage foreclosure filings decreased substantially in 2010 when Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman instituted a regulation requiring counsel representing lenders foreclosing on residential mortgages to file affirmations of merit.
The report argues that lenders’ counsel has now adjusted to this new requirement and is winnowing down the backlog of cases that were not brought during this period of adjustment. (Effective August 30, 2013, Chief Judge Lippman’s affirmation requirement was replaced with the statutorily mandated certificate of merit.)
The increase in mortgage foreclosure filings has resulted in additional strains on New York’s Court system, which continues to struggle with tight budgets. In addition to having judges available to cover the increased volume of cases, the court system must also make personnel available to handle the increase volume of mandatory settlement conferences in residential mortgage foreclosure cases.
How the courts will cope with this increase in mortgage foreclosure filings remains to be seen.