A foreclosure is a legal process who outcome depends on actions taken by a court. If a lender wants to foreclose on a property, that action must be filed in a local court. The borrowers in question can then await legal decisions from the court or offer additional information to plead their case, which can lead to the court pausing and delaying actions based on the new information. It is these legal disputes and decisions that can lead to a "writ stayed," or delay of foreclosure.
The foreclosure process begins when a borrower can no longer pay a mortgage. Once the borrower fails to make monthly payments, the lender sends warnings and soon considers the loan to be in default. The lender holds the house as collateral and subsequently tries to recover the loss of the defaulted loan by selling the house. In order to do this, the house must pass to the lender through legal action, which occurs in several stages as the court examines the foreclosure filing, makes a decision, evicts the borrower, and auctions or awards the property to the lender. The borrower receives notices as these stages are completed.
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When a writ, or specific written order, is stayed, the court has decided to stop a particular action, typically the foreclosure process as a whole. This often occurs when the court has initially agreed with the lender and given the writ for foreclosure, but the borrower produces new information regarding his loan. Sometimes the borrower finds money to pay the loan off, or wants to notify the court of illegal actions taken by the lender. In this case the court will often "stay" or pause a writ while the evidence is examined, in which case the property is not foreclosed until the court can make a decision.
Advantages and Considerations
If the court stays a writ of foreclosure, this is often good news for both the borrower and lender. It usually means that the issues have been resolved on both sides. However, borrowers should not depend on this sort of legal action to save their houses. The best time to stop a foreclosure process is before the lender brings the matter to court -- when the lender is still willing to accept a loan restructuring or other options. Court fees and lost time make the legal process expensive, even if the writ is stayed.
Other Possible Writs
Other writs associated with foreclosures may also be stayed. The court may review or postpone an option -- typically for 10 days. Eviction orders, for instance, can be stayed.