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The Foreclosure Process in Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., foreclosure is a non-judicial process. A notice of foreclosure sale must be sent to the homeowner and to the D.C. Recorder of Deeds.

NeighborhoodInfo DC has been using data from D.C. government administrative records to track the incidence and concentration of the foreclosure problem in city's wards and neighborhoods. The most recent data that we have analyzed show that the national foreclosure crisis has not spared households in the District of Columbia. Although the intensity of the foreclosure problem is not as severe as in other parts of the region, the nation's capital has seen a marked and steady increase in foreclosures since the beginning of the housing market downturn.

A foreclosure is a legal proceeding that ends an owner's rights to a property that was used to secure a mortgage loan. The foreclosure process is initiated by the mortgage lender, or someone legally authorized to act on the lender's behalf, when an owner falls behind on mortgage payments and the lender determines that there is no other recourse for recovering the mortgage debt. The steps in carrying out a foreclosure, and the specific options for the owner to avoid foreclosure, are largely determined by local laws and regulations that govern the process.

In the District of Columbia, foreclosure is a non-judicial process, which means that foreclosure is usually accomplished without use of the courts or without any judicial review or oversight. In the event of a mortgage delinquency, normally the lender or loan servicer will make several attempts to reach the borrower requesting that the overdue payments be made. If the loan continues to remain past due, then the lender or servicer may begin a foreclosure process to sell the property and attempt to recover unpaid loan amounts and other costs. Most lenders or servicers will wait until a borrower is 90 days late or more on mortgage payments before initiating foreclosure proceedings. In the District of Columbia, however, there does not seem to be any legal restriction on when the foreclosure process can be started against a delinquent borrower.

To initiate a foreclosure against a homeowner, the lender, or the lender's agent, must send a notice of foreclosure sale, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the property owner at the owner's last known address. A copy of this notice must also be sent to the D.C. Recorder of Deeds. The notice of foreclosure sale must include the following information:

The foreclosure sale may not take place less than 30 days after the notice has been received by the Recorder of Deeds.

In the event that a notice of foreclosure sale has been issued against a District of Columbia property owner, there are several outcomes that can take place:

Last Updated: 10/28/2009