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Washington State Attorney General McKenna Letter To Trustees RE: Potential Unlawful Foreclosure Practices

Washington State Attorney General McKenna Letter To Trustees RE: Potential Unlawful Foreclosure Practices

A homeowner who is unable to find a local address or phone number for their trustee should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online at However, this will not stop a foreclosure sale.  Homeowners should also contact a housing counselor or an attorney.

Washington is a “non-judicial foreclosure” state, which means that a lender can proceed directly to selling a home at public auction without first filing a lawsuit. This process was created by the state Legislature. Although lenders may foreclose in court in Washington, they almost always choose non-judicial foreclosures.

If a trustee is unwilling to stop a foreclosure, then the homeowner must file a lawsuit under the Deed of Trust Act and obtain a court order before the sale. Bankruptcy may stop or delay a foreclosure but it may also put the homeowner in a worse position. Legal representation is essential to a successful case, McKenna said.


  • If you believe unlawful activity has occurred in regard to your mortgage, you should speak with an attorney. A homeowner may file a suit to challenge a foreclosure, but they must do so prior to the foreclosure sale.
  • If you are unable to afford a lawyer, you should contact the Washington State Homeownership Information Hotline at 1-877-894-4663 (HOME) for referral to the Home Foreclosure Legal Aid Project. The hotline can also refer to you to a free, state-approved housing counselor.
  • Te Attorney General’s Office cannot stop a foreclosure or provide individuals with legal advice, as the office is barred by law from representing private citizens.
  • Homeowners should read the Washington Foreclosure Prevention Resources Guide, provided by the Seattle-King County Asset Building Collaborative Foreclosure Prevention Team and recommended by the Attorney General’s Office and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.
  • Additional resources can be found at


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