NYRL Report: Divergent Paths

Empire Justice April 07, 2016

“Divergent Paths: The need for more uniform standards and practices in New York State’s residential foreclosure conference process” reveals wide variations in the implementation of foreclosure settlement conference rules.  The wide variations in implementation have the potential to leave tens of thousands of New Yorkers at heightened risk of losing their homes.  This report analyzes the practices and procedures of New York State’s pioneering court-mediated settlement conference program – a program designed to help New Yorkers save their homes from foreclosure – and reveals that a lack of strong statewide guidance has resulted in procedures that vary significantly based on where homeowners live.

Some of the key recommendations from the report include:

  • Implement and enforce the settlement conference process more uniformly and consistently across the state. For example:
    • Create uniform procedures clarifying the courts’ authority when parties fail to negotiate in good faith
    • Create uniform mechanisms for enforcement when attorneys appear without settlement authority or necessary knowledge to engage in negotiations
  • Adopt common sense practices to ensure accountability and efficiency in order to expedite settlement conferences and compliance with the law’s requirements. These practices include:
    • Adoption of uniform order forms
    • Improvements in record keeping
    • Appointment of a dedicated mediator for the duration of each case
    • Separate calendars for first-time settlement conferences

Download the Divergent Paths Report!