Pennsylvania Mediations During COVID

By: Ed McKee, Esquire

Many Pennsylvania counties (some examples Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Monroe, Allegheny, and Butler) have a mediation or conciliation program to afford homeowners the opportunity to work with their lenders and see if loss mitigation or some other resolution can be reached. Typically, when a case is entered into the mediation program the underlying foreclosure action is stayed while the parties are working. Before COVID, these mediations were typically in person in front of a mediator or a Judge. Counsel would report the status of the loss mitigation if any, make requests for documents, or in the event of non-compliance seek removal from the program. The borrowers appeared at these as well often with a housing counselor who assists in the process. Since COVID, most counties have resumed their mediation programs (the notable exceptions being Philadelphia and Montgomery), but now the mediations occur remotely. Given the limitations of remote conferences and remote/limited staff these mediations are schedule more infrequently than they would have been previously. These mediations provide a good opportunity to workout an amicable resolution and get a loan back into performing status whether it be through a modification, forbearance, repayment plan, or some other workout.

In the event a borrower is not cooperating or submitting documents and the lender would like to seek removal the best way is to have clear documentation of communication: Be clear in what documents are missing; set clear deadlines to comply with any document requests; and identify where documents are to be sent. To further strengthen your position, have copies of any correspondence sent to the borrower sent to counsel so it can be relayed to the borrowers housing counsel and/or opposing counsel. Mediators and Judges will often err on the side of the borrower if it is not clear when/how/ and to whom a correspondence was sent. The more information you can provide your counsel; the better we are able to represent you at these mediations.  If you have questions about Pennsylvania Mediations or Conciliations conferences, please reach out to Ed McKee, Esquire or Andrew Marley, Esquire for assistance.

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