Queens law firm discusses foreclosure bill with Eric Adams


Andrea Gross met with Eric Adams on Nov. 12 to discuss a bill aimed at protecting homeowners by enforcing the statute of limitations on foreclosure cases. // Photo courtesy of James Rico.


By Marjorie Rogers


Legal professionals and constituents from Southeastern Queens met with New York City Mayor-Elect Eric Adams on Nov. 12 to discuss Bill S5473, also known as ‘The Foreclosure Process Abuse Prevention Act' (FPAPA). This proposed legislation aims to put new restrictions on mortgage lenders during the foreclosure process and eliminates what many supporters of the bill see as a loophole in the statute of limitations on these cases. 

Under the current New York statute, foreclosure cases have a statute of limitation of six years from the default date. When a borrower misses mortgage payments, the lending bank accelerates the repayment to compensate for the missed payments, initiating the foreclosure process. FPAPA aims to prevent banks from resetting or modifying the acceleration on mortgages. According to foreclosure defense attorney Andrea Gross, lenders can bypass the six-year statute of limitations by cancelling an acceleration on a mortgage, only to recalculate it years later.

“They restart the statute of limitations by manipulating the acceleration clause,” said Gross. “They de-accelerate the loan and start it over again, further eroding equity in the property.” 

Gross has seen this pattern play out throughout her 14 years as a foreclosure defense attorney. She watched as the aftermath of the 2008 recession left many homeowners in foreclosure and homeless. She predicts a similar spike in foreclosure cases after the COVID-19 foreclosure moratorium expires on Jan. 15, 2022. 

"Once the moratorium is finally lifted, these homeowners will undoubtedly face foreclosure beginning early 2022,” said Marlon Graham, a paralegal who met with Adams to discuss FPAPA. “[The bill] will force banks to follow the existing laws and prevent the continuous manipulation and evisceration of the statute of limitations, among other areas of the law.” 

Many advocates for FPAPA believe this legislation could protect New York homeowners from unforeseen foreclosure proceedings, and in turn, help neighborhoods stay together. 

“Her assisting in getting this bill passed is not only beneficial for her clients, but it is beneficial for minority communities,” said ShiAnn Ottley-Cleveland, Gross’s assistant and a law student at Hofstra University.  

A number of Gross's clients have been affected by the statute of limitations in foreclosure cases. Across the board, she has noticed a disparity between the number of homeowners in minority communities and clients from other areas facing the issue. According to Gross, the issue affects minority communties more often. 

"The lenders commence the lawsuit when they have no right to commence the lawsuit," said Gross. 

By passing FPAPA, its supporters hope to mend this disparity in foreclosure and increase protections for homeowers.

"The banks are trying to manipulate homeowners by misinforming by omission," said Ottley-Cleveland.


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