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Resolve disputes with your lender in Chapter 13 about 1) additional fees and charges, and 2) whether you’ve cured the mortgage arrearage.

Last week we described a Chapter 13 procedure to force mortgage lenders to resolve mortgage accounting disputes. This procedure focuses on changes to the monthly mortgage payment amount during the case. These are often just the normal contractually mandated changes arising from adjustments to the mortgage interest rate, and in property taxes and homeowners’ insurance. You and your lender need to be on the same page on the monthly amount so that you can stay current. Because of the importance of this, Rule 3002.1 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure provides an enforceable way within Chapter 13 for you to timely learn about mortgage payment changes and to efficiently resolve any related disputes.

This Rule also addresses two other practical problems about mortgage accounting:

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Chapter 13 gives you valuable power to force your mortgage lender to be up front about how much you owe, and to efficiently dispute the amount.

Catching Up on Your Mortgage over Time

A Chapter 13 case gives you the power to catch up on your home mortgage(s) over an extended period. This “adjustment of debts” type of bankruptcy can give you up to 5 years to catch up.

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Chapter 7 usually lets you retain your home if you are current (or not too far behind) on your mortgage payments (& other home-based debts).

Whether you can keep your home when filing a Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy” mostly depends on two questions: 1) Are you current or close to current on your mortgage and other debts against your home, and 2) Is the equity in your home protected by the applicable homestead exemption?

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