Homeowners Bill of Rights
State lawmakers recently passed a groundbreaking set of foreclosure relief bills that will help hundreds of thousands of struggling Californians stay in their homes.
This Bill has received a lot of media attention, but most of our clients simply want to know how the Bill affects them and, more importantly, if it will help them keep their home.
What Does the Bill Do?
It does a lot of different things, but the main provisions of the Bill are:
1.Stops Dual Tracking
“Dual tracking” is where a lender pursues foreclosure proceedings on a homeowner even though the homeowner is seeking a modification on the terms of the loan.
2.Requires a Single Point of Contact
Bank are now required to assign one bank employee to each file so homeowners do not have to communicate with many different people when they apply for assistance with their mortgage.
3.Makes the Banks Give Clearer Answers
The Bill requires banks to clearly explain to borrowers why they are rejected for a loan modification.
4.Gets Rid of Robo-signing
Banks will have to verify mortgage documents before a foreclosure and provide copies to borrowers upon request.
5.Provides Legal Recourse for Violations
The biggest change in this Bill is that it provides homeowners with the right to sue lenders for “significant, material violations” of the law. Prior to this Bill, there were no specific laws governing a homeowners rights when in the loan modification process.
Lenders that violate provisions of the Bill are subject to fines of $7,500 per loan for filing and recording unverified documents.
What Banks are Affected by the Bill?
The new legislation would apply to all banks, although those that process fewer than 175 foreclosures a year would be exempt from some procedural requirements.
When Does the Bill Go Into Effect?
The changes take effect January 1, 2013.
Why the Legislation is Important
This legislation is the first of its kind in the nation, making California on the cutting edge of homeowner assistance programs. Backers hope that the California Homeowner Bill of Rights will spur similar protections for property owners in states across the country.