Filing Your Answer to a Foreclosure
Authored By: Florida Legal Services, Inc.
Why file an answer? +
If you are served with a summons and complaint for foreclosure, this means your lender has filed a lawsuit against you.
If you do not want to lose your right to defend yourself and participate in the court proceedings, you must file an answer.
When must you respond? +
You have twenty (20) days to file your answer. Count twenty days starting with the day after you are served and count every day, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
You must respond even if:
- you are talking to your lender to try to work out a deal or get a modification
- your lender says you don’t have to respond
- you have scheduled a mediation
What if I do not respond or do not meet the deadline? +
If you fail to file your answer (written response) to the foreclosure complaint within 20 days after being served, the court will enter a default against you, allowing the foreclosure to proceed without any futher notice to you from the court or your lender.
There are some limited circumstances where a default may be challenged. Contact your local legal aid office immediately if you do not understand the response time frames or if you receive a default judgment and you have not previously been notified of the law suit.
What do I say in my answer? +
Every paragraph in the complaint is usually given a number. You should respond to each numbered paragraph in the complaint. You can group your responses into those paragraphs you agree with, those you disagree with and those you cannot answer. If you disagree, you DO NOT have to explain why you disagree. You can use the sample form to the right.
If you have other reasons why there should not be a foreclosure, add additional numbered paragraphs and list your reasons.
At the top of your Answer, put the case number, your name and the names of the lenders as listed on the summons. Sign your answer at the end and add your address, telephone number and the date mailed.