A notice of default is a public court filing wherein a mortgage borrower is notified that his or her payments are overdue because the predetermined deadline has passed. This is an initial step toward foreclosure, and if the payments aren't made within a certain time frame, the lender is at liberty to sell or seize the property as laid out in the mortgage contract. The borrower must then make the payments before a given deadline and additionally cover the legal costs of preparing the notice in order for the foreclosing process to be halted. The procedures for filing a notice of default vary among different lenders; some are more lenient toward borrowers while others are less so. Regardless, a notice of default filing can go on the borrower's credit report and negatively affect their credit score, making it more difficult to refinance their mortgage and acquire other forms of credit.