California’s Homeowners Bill of Rights

Governor Brown signed the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights yesterday.  How will this impact our Elk Grove real estate market?  Will this bill actually help homeowners?  As with all new programs and laws that have been passed in the past few years, we will have to wait and see if this truly does help California distressed homeowners.

The following information was taken from the California Association of Realtors – The Homeowner Bill of Rights has four major components:

  • Prohibiting “dual track” foreclosures that occur when a servicer continues foreclosure while also reviewing a homeowner’s application for a loan modification;
  • Creating a single point of contact for homeowners who are negotiating a loan modification;
  • Expanding notice requirements that must be provided to a borrower before taking action on a loan modification application or pursuing foreclosure;
  • Allowing injunctions against foreclosure until violations are corrected and permitting civil penalties against servicers that file multiple, inaccurate mortgage documents or commit reckless or willful violations of law.

“Californians should not have to suffer the abusive tactics of those who would push foreclosure behind the back of an unsuspecting homeowner,” said Gov. Brown. “These new rules make the foreclosure process more transparent so that loan servicers cannot promise one thing while doing the exact opposite.”.

This law aims to avoid foreclosure where possible to help stabilize California’s housing market and prevent the other negative effects of foreclosures on families, communities, and the economy.

This is from a spokesperson from Wells Fargo Bank – “In contrast, the approach taken in the California Conference Report, is extremely complex, provides some rights to some borrowers but not others, creates uncertainty and will likely increase the expenses and liabilities for the home lending industry,” the lender said in a statement.
There is also concern that this law could affect market values.  The United Trustees Association is also concerned about market values. The  Irvine-based trade group is opposed to the legislation, arguing that it will  extend the foreclosure period and result in reduced home values.

Other opponents included Realtors, banks and the California Chamber of  Commerce, which argued it would discourage investment in California’s housing  market, which has begun showing signs of improvement.

The laws will go into effect on January 1, 2013, and borrowers can access courts to enforce their rights under this legislation.

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