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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 31766
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I have been named as a defendant in a foreclosure by a bank.

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I have been named as a defendant in a foreclosure by a bank. The person that owns the property owes me money too so I placed a judgment lien on the property. According to the summons, I am one of many junior lien holders. It appears that the money the homeowner owes is greater than the value of the property. According to the summons, I have 20 days to answer this summons. What do I need to do? I believe I will never get my money back as it is a relatively small amount.
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Real Estate litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

There's not a lot you can do in this instance IF the mortgage is greater than the value of the property. Since you're a junior lienholder, you obviously won't recover any money unless all lienholders that have priority over you are paid in full.

Usually, the best thing to do in this instance is file an answer to the complaint, and in the answer claim that you're a lienholder, and that you are making your claim to ANY money that is available after all other senior lienholders are paid. It may not result in you receiving any money from the sale of this house, but it will protect your interests just in case.

Roger and 5 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The summons states: "YOU MUST RESPOND TO EACH CLAIM. The Answer is your written response to the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. In your Answer you must state whether you agree or disagree with each paragraph of the Amended Complaint. If you believe the Plaintiff should not be given everything asked for in the Amended Complaint, you must say so in your Answer."


There are 2 Counts to this summons with a total of 21 numbered paragraphs. Do I assume these are the individual claims that I must address? Claim # XXXXX lists the numerous junior lien holders and the amounts due each along with the date their claim was filed. This is where I am listed.


So I am confused as to how I am to "Answer" each claim as outlined in the Summons.

Sorry for the delay - I lost my internet connection for a moment.

You must respond to EACH paragraph of the complaint, even if it doesn't pertain to you. However, your answer can be very simple.

For instance, you can state something like "The Defendant admits/denies the allegation of paragraph number ___ of the complaint".

If the paragraph doesn't pertain to you, then you can say something like "The allegations of paragraph number ___ do not appear to pertain to the Defendant, but to the extent that the allegations pertain to the Defendant, they are denied."

Here's a good link that you can read about filing an answer under Vermont law:

The original answer must be filed with the court clerk, and a copy must be sent to all parties.