The foreclosure crisis has definitely slowed down in the United States, but that doesn’t necessary mean that the situation is under control.

In fact, there are many homeowners who are still living in their homes after missing mortgage payments for five years or more, and some are arguing that it is now too late for their lenders to foreclose.

As a recent article from the New York Times explains, certain homeowners throughout the country may be able to keep their homes without paying another cent on their mortgages because of an oddity with the law.

Statutes of limitations hold that a lawsuit must be filed in a certain amount of time or the ability to file suit goes away altogether, and many states have statutes of limitations in place for foreclosure lawsuits, which are filed by lenders against homeowners when they have defaulted on mortgage payments.

The Times reported that there are currently tens of thousands of homeowners in the country who have missed more than five years of mortgage payments, and many are still living in the homes because the foreclosure cases have stalled or took forever to file in the first place.

This is especially common in states where judges must sign off on foreclosure cases, which tends to make the process take much, much longer.

The process has also fumbled in many cases because of the changes that have been made to foreclosure laws in recent years. For example the federal government made 69 changes to its mortgage modification programs, which resulted in lenders having to renegotiate with homeowners.

But the lenders are also to blame for the delays, the Times reported, thanks to their poor record-keeping and mishandling of foreclosure cases in the wake of the financial crisis.

According to some experts, the foreclosure mess is likely to take another decade to sort out, any homeowners who have feared losing their homes for years could end up coming out ahead in some situations.

Of course, before making any decision when facing a foreclosure, it’s extremely important to speak with an experienced attorney for advice. Our Milwaukee firm offers free initial consolations, so there is nothing to lose.