VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 11/28/2012
California Homeowner Bill of Rights Signed into Law On July 11, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Homeowner Bill of Rights into law to bring fairness, accountability and transparency to the state’s mortgage and foreclosure process. The Homeowner Bill of Rights goes into effect on January 1, 2013. More than one million California homes were lost to foreclosure between 2008 and 2011—with an additional 700,000 currently in the foreclosure pipeline. Seven of the nation’s 10 hardest-hit cities by foreclosure rate in 2011 were in California. The California Homeowner Bill of Rights marks the third step in Attorney General Harris’ response to the state’s foreclosure and mortgage crisis. The first step was to create the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, which has been investigating and prosecuting misconduct at all stages of the mortgage process. The second step was to extract a commitment from the nation’s five largest banks of an estimated $18 billion for California borrowers. The settlement contained thoughtful reforms but are only applicable for three years, and only to loans serviced by the settling banks. Two key bills of the Homeowner Bill of Rights contain significant mortgage and foreclosure reforms. The major provisions of AB 278 (Eng/Feuer/Mitchell) and SB 900 (Leno/Corbett/DeSaulnier/Evans) include: Dual track foreclosure ban: Mortgage servicers will be required to render a decision on a loan modification application before advancing the foreclosure process by filing a notice of default or notice of sale, or by conducting a trustee’s sale. The foreclosure process is essentially paused upon the completion of a loan modification application for the duration of the lender’s review of that application. Single point of contact: Mortgage servicers will be required to designate a “single point of contact” for borrowers who are potentially eligible for a federal or proprietary loan modification application. The single point of contact is an individual or team with knowledge of the borrower’s status and foreclosure prevention alternatives, access to decision makers, and the responsibility to coordinate the flow of documentation between borrower and mortgage servicer. Enforceability: Borrowers will have authority to seek redress of “material” violations of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights. Injunctive relief will be available prior to a foreclosure sale and recovery of damages will be available following a sale. Verification of documents: The recording and filing of multiple unverified documents will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $7,500 per loan in an action brought by a civil prosecutor. Enforcement will also be allowed under a violator’s licensing statute by the Department of Corporations, Department of Real Estate or Department of Financial Institution Wednesday, July 11, 2012 LOS ANGELES -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that the Homeowner Bill of Rights, which will protect homeowners and borrowers during the mortgage and foreclosure process, was signed into law today by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. The Homeowner Bill of Rights prohibits a series of inherently unfair bank practices that have needlessly forced thousands of Californians into foreclosure. The law restricts dual-track foreclosures, where a lender forecloses on a borrower despite being in discussions over a loan modification to save the home. It also guarantees struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers, and imposes civil penalties on fraudulently signed mortgage documents. In addition, homeowners may require loan servicers to document their right to foreclose. The laws will go into effect on January 1, 2013, and borrowers can access courts to enforce their rights under this legislation. The Homeowner Bill of Rights builds upon and extends reforms first negotiated in the recent national mortgage settlement between 49 states and leading lenders. Attorney General Harris secured up to $18 billion for California homeowners in that agreement, and has also built a Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to investigate crime and fraud associated with mortgages and foreclosures. “The California Homeowner Bill of Rights will give struggling homeowners a fighting shot to keep their home,” said Attorney General Harris. “This legislation will make the mortgage and foreclosure process more fair and transparent, which will benefit homeowners, their community, and the housing market as a whole.” “Californians should not have to suffer the abusive tactics of those who would push foreclosure behind the back of an unsuspecting homeowner,” said Governor Brown. “These new rules make the foreclosure process more transparent so that loan servicers cannot promise one thing while doing the exact opposite.” The Homeowner Bill of Rights consists of a series of related bills, including two identical bills that were passed on July 2 by the state Senate and Assembly: AB 278 (Eng, Feuer, Pérez, Mitchell) and SB 900 (Leno, Evans, Corbett, DeSaulnier, Pavley, Steinberg). The California Homeowner Bill of Rights also contains a variety of bills outside of the conference committee process. These will enhance law enforcement responses to mortgage and foreclosure-related crime, in part by empowering the Attorney General to call a grand jury in response to financial crimes spanning multiple jurisdictions. Additional elements will help communities fight blight related to foreclosure, and provide enhanced protections for tenants in foreclosed homes. Please see the attached fact sheet for the status of these bills. The California Homeowner Bill of Rights was introduced February 29, 2012 at a press conference featuring Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and bill authors from the Assembly and Senate. More details about the California Homeowner Bill of Rights are found on the attached fact sheet. To learn more about how the bills impact California homeowners, review the slideshow at: www.oag.ca.gov.
"Homeowner Bill of Rights - Short Sale USA"