Marin County borrowers unite against mortgage firms
A small nonprofit last year formed an unusual support group for troubled Marin County homeowners. The group has helped members file dozens of lawsuits against mortgage companies, in a sometimes-controversial tactic aimed at staving off foreclosures. The group's members say they have had some success in buying time or bringing the companies to the negotiating table. Others say they would have been kicked out of their homes if not for the group, called Families Fighting Foreclosure. The lawsuits prevent the mortgage companies from selling a home after foreclosing on the mortgage, and can often delay eviction orders for months. But other cases have ended in defeat, as mortgage companies evicted borrowers severely behind on their payments. That such a group has sprung up is testimony to some of the unique foreclosure dynamics in Marin County. Troubled homeowners here have few services available to them, largely because at 250,000 residents, the county has a relatively small population. And unlike nearby Alameda County, Marin—which is relatively affluent—doesn't have many low-income families that have long relied on housing counselors to help them with mortgage issues.