Additions to Homeowner Bill of Rights Become Law

Kamala Harris

The final parts of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights have been signed into law. The entire package of laws will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013 “California has been the epicenter of the foreclosure and mortgage crisis,” said Attorney General Kamala Harris. “The Homeowner Bill of Rights will provide basic fairness and transparency for homeowners, and improve the mortgage process for everyone.” The new part of the Homeowners Bill of Rights include Senate Bill 1474, which gives the Attorney General’s office the ability to use a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict the perpetrators of financial crimes involving victims in multiple counties. Assembly Bill 1950 extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting mortgage related crimes from one year to three years, giving the Department of Justice and local District Attorneys the time needed to investigate and prosecute complex mortgage fraud crimes. Assembly Bill 2610 requires purchasers of foreclosed homes to give tenants at least 90 days before starting eviction proceedings. If the tenant has a fixed-term lease, the new owner must honor the lease unless the owner demonstrates that certain exceptions intended to prevent fraudulent leases apply. Previously signed into law were three other components of the Homeowner Bill of Rights. Assembly Bill 2314 provides additional tools to local governments and receivers to fight blight caused by multiple vacant homes in neighborhoods. Two additional bills provide protections for borrowers and struggling homeowners, including a restriction on dual-track foreclosures, where a lender forecloses on a borrower despite being in discussions over a loan modification to save the home. The bills also guarantee struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers.
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