As is the case in many parts of the United States, the courts in Maine have seen a dramatic rise in the volume of mortgage foreclosure actions filed by lenders against homeowners.
On March 1, 2009, the Morning Sentinal newspaper reported that foreclosure filings in Kennebec County doubled between fiscal years 2004 and 2008. The statewide statistics are grim: There were 2,851 foreclosure filings in Maine in 2008 - representing a 900 percent increase from 2007.
Housing advocates and nonprofit groups report enormous increases in the volume of homeowners seeking assistance.
Meanwhile, in response to the mortgage foreclosure crisis that has imperiled Maine homeowners and communities, the Maine court system has enacted new programs to assist homeowners. Maine's Chief Justice told a joint session of the house and senate that the courts have created a mortgage foreclosure diversion program aimed at providing homeowners with opportunities for mediation during the foreclosure process. However, as reported on March 17, 2009, by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN), a significant problem has been the failure of many Mainers facing foreclosure to take any action in their cases. MPBN reports that according to Maine Supreme Court Justice John Levy, "too many Mainers in the process leading toward foreclosure have little information and too often no assistance. The response, in many cases, he says, is to shutdown and ignore the process, which leads to a default judgment resulting in the loss of their homes. Sometimes, he says, it could have been prevented."
Maine homeowners have a variety of mechanisms that can assist them at virtually every stage of the foreclosure process, ranging from written requests for forbearance, to filing answers to foreclosure complaints. The bottom line is that homeowners in default or foreclosure must take action, and have access to the appropriate Maine foreclosure defense forms and information.