OCA Reports Conferences Prevent Foreclosures But Strain Courts

Mandated pre-foreclosure conferences have become increasingly effective in helping to keep people in their homes, but the labor-intensive proceedings are straining court resources and have contributed to an “unprecedented” shift in the civil caseload, a study by the Office of Court Administration (OCA) has concluded.

“It’s taken a lot of effort,” Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau said in an interview Wednesday. “We’re proud of the result, but it is an enormous undertaking.”

The study was ordered by the Legislature under Chapter 507 of the Laws of 2009, which expanded the conferences from the cases of homeowners with subprime, high-cost loans to all those facing foreclosure. The report was submitted to the governor and the Legislature on Nov. 15.

According to the study, the courts held 89,093 foreclosure conferences from Jan. 1 through Oct. 20 of this year. At the same time, the number of pending foreclosure cases has grown to 77,815 from 54,591 last year. Foreclosure cases now represent 28.6 percent of all pending civil cases statewide, an increase of more than six points from 2009. Their share of the caseload is even higher in some areas—49 percent in Schenectady County, 48 percent in Wyoming, 40 percent in Suffolk and 30 percent in Brooklyn.

via Conferences Prevent Foreclosures But Strain Courts, OCA Reports.

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