California Legislative Passes Homeowners Bill of Rights
SACRAMENTO – Hundreds of thousands of Californians desperately trying to stay in their homes will now have significant new protections to avoid foreclosure under a measure which passed the full Senate and Assembly today. The measure will now be sent to the Governor for his consideration.
SB 900 (Leno/Evans/Corbett/DeSaulnier/Pavley/Steinberg) and AB 278 (Eng/Feuer/Pérez/Mitchell) will ban the practice of so-called “dual tracking” by requiring lenders to immediately halt foreclosure proceedings once a borrower completes a loan modification application; will require a person or team of persons employed by a lender to be a single point of contact for the homeowner; penalizes lenders for unverified signing (robo-signing) of foreclosure documents; and provides homeowners the right to sue a lender for significant violations of the law.
“The package approved by the Legislature today is a major victory for California’s consumers,” said Speaker John A. Pérez. “We impose tough new regulations on banks and lenders to stop the abusive practices we’ve seen since the collapse of the housing market, and this package will bring relief to hundreds of thousands of California homeowners.”
The measure gives new hope and a fighting chance to Californians who are doing everything they can to live up to their responsibilities and to stay in their homes,” said Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. “All they ask is for a fair process, where lenders work honestly with homeowners and don’t give them the runaround. This legislation provides those protections sorely needed by California homeowners.”
SB 900 passed the Senate by a vote of 25 – 13. In the Assembly, AB 278 passed 54 – 25. The measures were the product of a bipartisan, bicameral Conference Committee on California’s Foreclosure Crisis. The committee held more than 20 hours of public hearings and worked tirelessly with consumer advocates, banking and mortgage industry representatives, and other stakeholders to develop compromise legislation.
Other elements of the Homeowners Bill of Rights are continuing through the legislative process, including SB 1472 (Pavley) and AB 2314 (Carter) to prevent blight from foreclosures; SB 1473 (Hancock) and AB 2610 (Skinner) to provide tenant protection for those renting a property that’s foreclosed; SB 1474 (Hancock) and AB 1763 to give the Attorney General expanded grand jury powers on foreclosure abuses; and AB 1950 (Davis) which extends the statute of limitations on real estate-related misdemeanors.
Website of President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg: www.senate.ca.gov/steinberg
Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker