A new Homeowner Bill of Rights, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, went into effect on January 1, 2013. The new set of laws protects consumers who are going through the foreclosure process. It includes stopping lenders from doing what is called dual tracking, robo signing and makes sure lenders assign one point of contact to borrowers who are trying to obtain a loan modification.
Duel tracking is the process of starting the foreclosure process while the lender is considering and or reviewing a loan modification request. We have talked to many homeowners who have applied for a loan modification and when it is declined or rejected they immediately get a Notice of Default which is the first step in the foreclosure process. The lender has been working on the foreclosure during the time the loan modification was under review and they are prepared to foreclose if the loan modification is declined.
Under the new law, banks must give loan-modification applicants a response before starting the foreclosure process. Banks now also have to inform consumers who don’t apply for a loan modification that they have the right to do so.
Robo signing, is defined as the process of approving foreclosure documents without proper review and will now be illegal in California.
Included in the Homeowner Bill of Rights is the ability for borrowers to sue loan servicers for violating any foreclosure law.
Speaking of new laws, last week I wrote about the extension of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act being extended. I failed to mention the State of California has not yet passed legislation to make State taxation rules mirror Federal law. The bill to do this in now being worked on and is expected to pass but at this time there would be state taxes due on forgiven mortgage debt associated with a short sale.
If you have any questions about the Homeowner Bill of Rights or short sales please let me know. I can be reached at the MagnumOne Realty office in Roseville (916-899-6571) or by email to JulieJ@Jalone.com.