Overview of Virginia Foreclosure Laws
While some states provide multiple requirements before a lender can foreclose, Virginia has very few similar laws. Virginia permits lenders (through their foreclosing “trustee”) to foreclose on delinquent loans without going to Court if the Deed of Trust includes a “power of sale” clause authorizing the sale of the home under certain circumstances. Still, the trustee must follow Virginia law and the requirements in the Deed of Trust. Virginia statutes require two particular steps regardless of the language of the Deed of Trust: Advertisement and notice.
Virginia foreclosure laws require advertisement. The trustee must publish the advertisement in a generally circulated newspaper in the city or county where the property lies. The advertisement must be in the newspaper for either three different days or once a week for two weeks. The Deed of Trust may include additional advertising provisions. If there is no language regarding advertisement in the Deed of Trust, the trustee must advertise the sale once a week for four successive weeks. The sale cannot be held less then eight days following the first advertisement or more than thirty days following the last advertisement. If a trustee fails to follow the publishing rules, the proper court must render the sale voidable.
The advertisement must include anything required by the Deed of trust as well as the following: (1) A general description of the property, (2) the time, place, and terms of the sale, (3) the name of the trustee, and (4) contact information for inquiries concerning the sale. Courts have determined that a failure to comply with the content requirements for advertising will only render the sale void if the failure caused some sort of unfairness to the homeowner. An example of unfairness is a reduced sale price.
Virginia foreclosure laws require notice. The foreclosing trustee must mail the owner notice of the sale. The notice must include the time, date, and place of the sale. It must also have other specific information from the Deed of Trust or a copy of the appointment of the substitute trustee. The trustee must mail or personally deliver this notice 14 days prior to the sale. Mailing the advertisement satisfies the requirement. Virginia law does not require that the owner of the property actually receive the notice, only that the notice be sent to the last known address of the homeowner. Additionally, violation of these rules does not automatically render a foreclosure sale void. A trustee or lender cannot be held liable for failure to comply with these requirements.
What You Need to Know
Depending upon the requirements of foreclosure in your Deed of Trust, there may be very little time between the notice of the foreclosure sale and the sale itself. It is much easier to prevent a foreclosure than to work to void a foreclosure sale. As such, you should not wait until you receive a notice to take action on a delinquent account. At that point in time, it may be too late and emergency judicial proceedings may be necessary.
If you believe that a trustee is proceeding to foreclosure without complying with Virginia Law or the Deed of Trust, many courts in Virginia will hear cases to prevent the foreclosure. You need to make sure that your current address is always updated with you lender. Also, retain copies of any documents showing that you reported any change of address. It is important that you keep a copy of any and all documents you receive from your lender. Talk to our Williamsburg Newport News Foreclosure Attorneys or another qualified person if you are facing immediate foreclosure you feel may have violated your rights.
The Williamsburg Newport News Foreclosure Attorneys at Collins & Hyman are ready to help you protect your home. Call today for a consultation.
Gregory S. Bean is one of our Williamsburg Newport News Foreclosure Attorneys at Collins & Hyman.