All of us know someone whose home has been impacted by foreclosure—whether our own family, friends or a neighbor. For too long, banks have held the upper hand. Not anymore. With more than 3 million California homes affected by the mortgage and foreclosure crisis, I am proud to be a principal co-author of the Homeowner Bill of Rights, legislation that was passed by the California Legislature last week.
The Homeowner Bill of Rights:
Ends dual-tracking where one office of the bank is offering a loan modification while another is moving forward with foreclosure.
Provides incentives for banks to directly negotiate with homeowners for loan modifications.
- Simplifies the short-sale process.
- Ends "robo-signing" by requiring that mortgage servicers ensure documents filed to begin foreclosure are verified and backed by evidence.
- Allows courts to require banks to take corrective actions before the bank sells a family's home out from under them.
- Provides a single point of contact for homeowners facing financial challenges.
Our friends and neighbors who are renters are also impacted by foreclosures. To protect renters living in properties that get foreclosed and who may end up facing eviction through no fault of their own, I've authored AB 2610, the Renters Foreclosure Protection Act.
AB 2610, with limited exceptions, requires new purchasers of foreclosed homes to honor a renter's legitimate lease until the end of the lease term. If there is no lease or the renter is on a month-to-month lease, the renter must be provided with at least 90 days' notice before eviction.
In an effort to provide relief to homeowners who are "underwater" on their loans, I've also authored a resolution urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency Director, Edward DeMarco, to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – who collectively own over 60% of mortgages in California -- to offer principal write-downs on these loans.
None of us deserve to be mistreated by banks and mortgage institutions. I'm hopeful that, combined with the mortgage settlement negotiated by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, these bills will provide some relief to homeowners and renters impacted by foreclosure.
For more information on this new law visit www.homeownerBoR.org or contact my office at (510) 286-1400. It is an honor to serve you in Sacramento.