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Foreclosure is a specific legal process in which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who has stopped making payments to the lender by forcing the sale of the asset used as the collateral for the loan. Formally, a mortgage lender, or other lien holder, obtains a termination of a mortgage borrower's equitable right of redemption, either by court order or by operation of law. Usually a lender obtains a security interest from a borrower who mortgages or pledges an asset like a house to secure the loan. If the borrower defaults and the lender tries to repossess the property, courts of equity can grant the borrower the equitable right of redemption if the borrower repays the debt. While this equitable right exists, it is a cloud on title and the lender cannot be sure that he can successfully repossess the property. Therefore, through the process of foreclosure, the lender seeks to foreclose the equitable right of redemption and take both legal and equitable title to the property in fee simple. Other lien holders can also foreclose the owner's right of redemption for other debts, such as for overdue taxes, unpaid contractors' bills or overdue homeowners' association dues or assessments. (via Freebase)