Foreclosures Decline Dramatically in California in January. New Homeowner Bill of Rights Credited for Big Drop

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By Consumers Union on Friday, February 15th, 2013

On February 13, NPR radio reported that foreclosures in California were down by nearly 40 percent.

According to the story, RealtyTrac Vice-President Daren Blomquist says a new law brought about the change.  That new law is the California Homeowner Bill of Rights which became effective on January 1, 2013.  The new law was championed by California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris, Consumers Union, the Center for Responsible Lending, the California Reinvestment Coalition, PICO, and many other California organizations who care about preserving homeownership and keeping communities intact.

The new California Homeowner Bill of Rights prohibits lenders from dual tracking homeowners, in other words, proceeding with a foreclosure while the homeowner is being considered for a loan modification, requires a single point of contact (or a designated team of individuals) to be responsive to homeowners throughout the modification process, and requires more useful information to be given to homeowners going through the process, among other protections.

It’s not every day you get to see immediate results from a hard fought battle to protect consumers.

But if there was ever one that begged for a quick change, it’s preventing unnecessary foreclosures from putting people out on the streets.  As the Homeowners Bill of Rights goes into full swing, we hope the trend will continue and that borrowers who want to keep paying their mortgages with a good loan modification get the fighting chance to do so.

We know the Homeowners Bill of Rights cannot help every homeowner facing foreclosure, but we are pleased to see that in its first month of implementation it is making a dramatic difference.

To learn more about what the California Homeowner Bill of Rights means for borrowers, see Consumers Union’s guide to the new law.  http://consumersunion.org/document/californias-homeowner-bill-of-rights-summary

If you’re a homeowner facing foreclosure, tell us, is your loan servicer/lender treating you with respect?

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