Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
New Legal Clinic Helps Homeowners Fighting Foreclosure
Friday, September 05, 2008
New York, NY –
A new legal clinic is claiming great success in helping homeowners fight off foreclosure of their homes.
REPORTER: In the case of US Bank v. Deborah Singleton, Deborah Singleton is defending herself.
SINGLETON: I can represent myself, I don't have to pay thousands of dollars to a lawyer who may not help me any better than I can help me.
REPORTER: In July, the Brooklyn businesswoman was sued by her bank after missing payments. Now she's headed to court. Singleton's been trained in foreclosure law by a new nonprofit called Common Law. Co-founder Karen Gargamelli says it's a program born of necessity.
GARGAMELLI: Because there are only a handful of people that even understand the foreclosure laws, people have to represent themselves against the bank.
REPORTER: A spokesman for the state Bar Association confirmed that very few attorneys in New York practice foreclosure law. Gargamelli says each of the 50 or so homeowners her group has advised have convinced the court to not foreclose on them. New York had about 15,000 foreclosure filings in 2007.