that were pending until the concerned parties completed mediation talks. This step has the potential of impacting on thousands who are desperately trying to cling on to their homes.

The injunction applies to pending foreclosures and to those filed after 9th May – the intention being to give the homeowners an opportunity to reduce their losses, to modify the loans and also to give relief to the courts undergoing strain due to foreclosure cases. Chief Justine Jean Toal made these remarks in her order.

Toal said in the order, “The number of unresolved foreclosure actions has increased, with a resulting burden on the resources of the Court before which the action is pending. The trial courts report that such breakdowns are largely the result of difficulty in communication between lender-services and debtors, and the fact that foreclosure actions are proceeding to conclusion without regard to ongoing loss mitigation efforts of the parties”.

Back in 2009 Toal had given orders to judges of South Carolina to stop foreclosure sales on residences numbering thousands, having guarantees Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae or any other mortgage firm that had inked their participation in federal help programme relating to the housing crisis. Her argument was that she wanted to give the borrowers time to avail of these programmes. Two weeks afterwards she had the injunction replaced and gave orders to see that foreclosures were dealt with in an uniform manner.

Since then foreclosure numbers have been increasing in South Carolina.

In her latest order Toal said neither hearings on or sales of foreclosed properties could be held till a lawyer representing the lender completed certain mandates; one of these was seeing that the house owner had sufficient opportunity of trying to modify the loans to terms that were agreeable. After reaching of the agreement there was to be a period of 90 days waiting. Following that the foreclosure action would be either entirely dismissed or pursued, depending on the homeowner’s keeping or breaking the terms of the agreement.

Immediately the details of how many residences would be affected by the order of Toal are not clear. Over 23,500 houses in March are in foreclosure – some stage of it, as per the findings of RealtyTrac.