I've Had a Foreclosure Too

I’ve had a foreclosure too.

My name is Jonathan Dever. I am an attorney who represents homeowners facing foreclosure.  I’m also a candidate for the Republican nomination for the 28th House District. Like many of my clients and millions of Americans, I too was once sued by a bank in foreclosure.  And if politics holds true, my opponents are going to love what I tell you next…

Prior to the Great Recession, I purchased an investment property and took out a mortgage. I paid my monthly payments to my lender every month and didn’t give it a second thought until a one of my tenants kicked over a candle and set the building on fire.  Fortunately no one was hurt.

It turned out that my lender, instead of forwarding my insurance escrows to the insurance company, decided to keep the premiums. As a result, I was left with a fire-damaged property, worth less than what I owed. When my bank attempted to foreclose on the property, I fought back by suing them for their own negligence.

The resolution of my story is a much happier one than many others in Ohio. We were able to settle our disputes out of court and both parties walked away from a bad situation by working together to fix the problem. Unfortunately, the story is not the same for others.

Families facing the threat of foreclosure are often losing their biggest asset - their identity, their part of the American Dream, and the embarrassment of having to move.  Foreclosure displaces kids from school districts, results in bankruptcy, and can even be the impetus for divorce.

I have tried to take what I learned through my own experience and apply that to the clients that come to me seeking help on their own foreclosures.  It’s my hope that, if given the honor of being elected state representative, I can take my knowhow to Columbus and propose commonsense reform.

One of the first pieces of legislation I would like to introduce in the Statehouse is a bill that would allow the recognition of a “D.O.L.L.A.R. Deed.” It would aid in keeping homeowners in their homes, save communities, while protecting the interests of investors.

In short, the plan combines a similar proposal from the Clermont County Mediation Program with the simplicity of a transaction:

D - Deeding over the property in lieu of foreclosure. This eliminates the need for a foreclosure action and judgment. It would be a quick process that would aid in reducing zombie titles, housing blight, and the further erosion of property values in the hardest hit communities.

O – Option for the homeowner to buy the home again in the future.

L. – Lender-Lease where the bank immediately leases the property back to the borrower at a reasonable rate, sufficient to cover past interest expenses, taxes and insurance.  The homeowner would then remain responsible for all of their normal bills.

A. R. – A refinance/reinstatement option with a first Refusal.  Homeowner can refinance or reinstate and the lender and the borrower each have a right of first refusal before the other can transfer title to the property.

The recognition of an instrument like this, makes sense for not only the borrowers, but provides the lender an innovative, cost effective and commonsense solution that we need more of in Columbus.  A “D.O.L.L.A.R. Deed” would cost less than $100.00 instead of tens of thousands of dollars in litigation as it does today.

Rather than be embarrassed by my own experience, I tell folks facing similar troubles what happened to me each and every day.