Judicial foreclosure is available in Ohio, but non-judicial foreclosure is not available. The primary service instrument is mortgage. The timeline for foreclosure in Ohio varies by process, but typically last 150 days. Right of Redemption is allowed, but deficiency judgments are not allowed.
In Ohio, lenders may foreclose on a mortgage in default by using the judicial foreclosure process.
-At some point prior to the scheduled date of foreclosure, an appraisal of the property must be made by three disinterested freeholders of the county.
-A copy of the appraised value must be filed with the court clerk and the property must be offered for sale at a price of not less than two-thirds of said value.
-The sale may not take place until the notice of sale has been published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property is located.
-The sheriff will conduct the sale at the courthouse and the property will be sold to the highest bidder.
-Lenders may obtain a deficiency judgment and the borrower may redeem the property at any time before the court confirms the foreclosure sale by paying the amount of the judgment, plus costs and interest.
This information explains how to answer the complaint filed against you so that you will have an opportunity to tell your side in Court.
You may have legal claims of your own against the person who filed the complaint against you, and you may wish to include these in your Answer. Such claims are called “counterclaims.” Writing down your counterclaims is probably something that you would need the help of an attorney to do properly. If you have any claims against the person who sued you, you should contact an attorney immediately. If you are low income, legal service may be able to help you. Call 1-866-LAW-OHIO (1-866-529-6446) If you are low income but do not qualify for your local legal aid program, the Equal Justice Foundation at 1-800-898-0545 may be able to help you, or you can call the Akron Bar Association for a referral at (330) 253-5007.
FAILURE TO ANSWER IS ADMITTING THE COMPLAINT
If you look at the SUMMONS, which often is the first page of the papers that you received from the Court, you will notice that it demands that you Answer the complaint within 28 days after you are served with the Summons. YOU MUST SERVE YOUR ANSWER WITHIN 28 DAYS. Serving your answer means that after you have prepared your answer, you mail a copy of it to the person who sued you. You must also file the original with the court.
The page immediately after the Summons should be the first page of the complaint against you. Read the complaint carefully. Failure to answer the complaint in writing within 28 days after you receive it is an admission that what the complaint says is true and the other person should win whatever they have asked for from the Court. If you do not answer the complaint in writing the law says you therefore agree that what the complaint says is true and that the other side should win. This means that the other side may be able to make you pay money to them or take your house in foreclosure. If this is the case, there is no reason for the Court to have a trial, other than possibly a short hearing to determine the amount of the money you owe.
If there is no trial, then you will not get your day in Court. Also, if you do not serve and file an Answer to the complaint, you may not receive any further notice from the Court about what is happening in your case until the person who has sued you tries to collect his judgment by selling your house at a sheriff’s auction, garnishing your wages, seeking to attach your personal property, or all of these options.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR WRITTEN ANSWER
Preparing a written Answer to the complaint is easy. It can be nothing more than a letter to the Judge. Certain information must be included in your letter so that your Answer will be properly recorded when it is received. This information can be found on the Summons and from the top part of the complaint. You must include:
- Name of the Court
- Name of person who sued you (Plaintiff)
- Your name (Defendant)
- Case Number and Name of Judge
You can write the information the same way as it appears on the complaint.
You should address the Judge as “Your Honor.” Then tell the Judge you are writing about a lawsuit filed against you in the Judge’s court. You should then admit whatever it is in the complaint that is true, and deny whatever is not true. If the complaint filed against you has numbered paragraphs, as most of them do, then go through the complaint paragraph by paragraph, admitting what is true and denying what is not true.
Whenever you deny something in the complaint, you should also state briefly your reason why you are denying it or any part of it. For example, if the complaint says that you owe money but you know that you already paid the money, then you should deny that you owe the money and say that you already paid it. If you are not sure whether something is true, you should write that you do not know. Do not guess, and do not assume that the person suing you must be right. It is better to say you do not know whether something is true than to agree with something you are not sure about.
At the end of the letter, ask the Judge to dismiss the complaint. Then print your name, address, and phone number legibly. In the lower left-hand corner of the letter or type “cc:” and write the name of the attorney or person who filed the complaint against you.
If possible, you should type your name. It is important for the Judge and the plaintiff to be able to read what you have written.
HOW TO SERVE AND TO FILE YOUR ANSWER
After you have prepared your Answer, you need to immediately make 2 photocopies of it. (Hand written copies will not do.) MAIL one of these photocopies to the attorney or person who filed the complaint against you. Mailing is serving your answer. Although you do not have to mail the answer by certified mail, you may want to ask the post office to provide you with a Certificate of Mailing, which proves you mailed the answer on the date it was mailed, to the person to whom it was addressed.
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