Despite the fact that foreclosures are generally decreasing across the country, Ohio still has a very high foreclosure rate -- the fifth highest in the U.S. as of July 2014. If you’re one of the many homeowners facing a foreclosure in Ohio, you’re probably wondering what happens during the foreclosure process.
For starters, foreclosures in Ohio go through the court system. This means you will receive a foreclosure summons and complaint, and get a certain amount of time to file a response with the court. Read on to find out how long you get to answer to the complaint, whether you can reinstate the mortgage before the sale, if you could be on the hook for a deficiency judgment after the foreclosure, and more.
Below you’ll find a summary of some of the key aspects of Ohio foreclosure law along with citations to the statutes so you can read the law yourself.
Ohio’s foreclosure statutes are located in Title 23, Chapter 2323 (Section 2323.07) and Chapter 2329 of the Ohio Revised Code.
We’ve summarized important parts of Ohio’s foreclosure laws below. You can find more detailed articles on various aspects of Ohio foreclosure law in Nolo’s Ohio Foreclosure Law Center.
Ohio foreclosures are judicial, which means they go through the state court system. (Learn more about judicial foreclosures.)
In Ohio, the foreclosing party files a lawsuit to begin the process and gives the borrower notice of the suit by serving him or her with a summons and complaint. (Learn more about the difference between a foreclosure summons and complaint.)
The borrower gets 28 days after service to file an answer to the complaint. The borrower can also typically request mediation during this time. (Learn about foreclosure mediation in Nolo’s article Ohio’s Foreclosure Mediation Program.)
After the court grants a judgment for foreclosure in favor of the foreclosing party, the sale procedures will begin. The foreclosing party files a notice of sale with the court at least seven days prior to the sale and sends a copy to the debtor and parties who appeared in the action. Ohio Rev. Code § 2329.26, Ohio Civil Rule 5. The notice of sale must also be published in a newspaper for at least three consecutive weeks prior to the sale. Ohio Rev. Code § 2329.26.
Ohio law extends the protections of the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to members of the Ohio national guard ordered by the governor into active duty or training. Ohio Rev. Code § § 5919.29, 5923.12.
“Reinstating” is when the borrower catches up on the defaulted mortgage's missed payments (plus fees and costs) in order to stop a foreclosure. (Learn more about reinstatement to avoid foreclosure.)
Ohio law does not provide the borrower with the right to reinstate before the sale. However, the terms of the mortgage contract may permit the borrower to reinstate or the foreclosing party may agree to a reinstatement.
In some states, the borrower can redeem (repurchase) the home within a certain period of time after the foreclosure.
After the foreclosure sale in Ohio takes place, the court must confirm it. The borrower has up until the court confirms the sale to redeem the home. Ohio Rev. Code § 2329.33. (To get details on redemption rights in Ohio, see Nolo’s article If I lose my home to foreclosure in Ohio, can I get it back?)
When the total mortgage debt exceeds the foreclosure sale price, the difference is called a “deficiency.” Some states allow the foreclosing party to seek a personal judgment (called a “deficiency judgment”) against the borrower for this amount, while other states prohibit deficiency judgments with what are called anti-deficiency laws.
Ohio law allows deficiency judgments. In Ohio, the foreclosing party may obtain a deficiency judgment, but that judgment is unenforceable two years after the court confirms the sale. Ohio Rev. Code § 2329.08.
Limitation on deficiency judgments. The property cannot be sold at the foreclosure sale for less than two thirds of its appraised value, which limits the deficiency amount. Ohio Rev. Code § § 2329.20, 2329.17. (For a summary of the deficiency law in Ohio, see Ohio Laws on Post-Foreclosure Deficiency Judgments.)
After the court confirms the sale, the new owner (usually the foreclosing party) may ask the court for a writ of possession and have the sheriff remove the foreclosed homeowners from the home.