Calexico resident Eleazar Salazar built his home in 2001 using a loan and received a loan modification in 2009. He was making steady payments when in December 2009, after just making a payment, he received a notice saying his home was being foreclosed on. The family was shocked.
They contacted The Advocates’ Law Firm LLP, and were assured by firm partner Francisco Aldana that everything would be all right.
In the case, the U.S. Bank National Association had foreclosed on Salazar’s home by exercising the power of sale under the deed of trust.
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Salazar filed to invalidate the foreclosure sale and seek damages while U.S. Bank filed to regain possession of the home through an unlawful detainer action against Salazar.
On April 11, Judge Margaret Mann of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California, ruled on the case, saying, among several points, that the bank’s use of Mortgage Electronic Registration System couldn’t replace statutory foreclosure laws.
“This is an important decision — today we helped kick open the door in our ongoing efforts to stop wrongful foreclosures,” Aldana wrote in a press release after the decision. “Consumers have rights too, and we will stand up for them. Banks must do more to assist the homeowners in modifying loans.”
Salazar went to court each month for approximately one and a half years to say there was a court order against an eviction. He filed bankruptcy to stop the bank from foreclosing on the home, giving him automatic protection, Aldana said.
Pending litigation remains for Salazar to prove the bank doesn’t own the loan, Aldana said.
His firm has at least five more cases like the Salazars’ in the area.
“I’m seeing a lot of cases in Imperial Valley very similar to the Salazars’,” Aldana said.
El Centro leads Imperial County with foreclosure activity according to RealtyTrac, with Calexico following in second place and Imperial in third.
“A lot of people don’t know or feel they don’t have a means of saving their home. It’s sad,” Salazar’s daughter Mary Salazar said. “You can’t always believe what the banks say. Don’t think you can do this on your own. You need legal protection.”
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or email@example.com