An overhaul of the California foreclosure system has been made official by Governor Jerry Brown, who signed it into law this month.
Los Angeles Foreclosure Attorney Vincent Howard applauds this measure, which provides some of the country's strongest protections against the aggressive foreclosure tactics and practices employed by the banks - which perpetuated widespread abuses against underwater homeowners over the last several years since the housing market imploded.
The governor was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying that the law will be not only important for those currently enduring the foreclosure process, but also for the recovery of the overall economy in California.
As Vincent Howard previously reported in his Foreclosure Attorney Blog, this is separate from the $26 billion agreement reached by five major banks and attorneys general from 49 states, including ours.
It will go into effect early next year.
The first thing this measure will do is end dual tracking. California is the first state to do so, and it essentially stops a mortgage loan servicing agency from weaseling its way into pushing a foreclosure through to completion while the homeowner is still seeking a home loan modification. For banks, this means they have an incentive to actually work with homeowners, rather than against them. Still, this should not be misconstrued as a belief that banks are working in your favor. You are going to need an experienced law firm on your side throughout the process. If you win, you would be entitled to up to $50,000 in civil damages.
The law also makes it mandatory for mortgage loan servicing agencies to establish a single point of contact for those who are working toward a loan modification. The theory is that cutting down on the bureaucracy will improve your chances of a favorable outcome for you.
Another aspect of the law is your express right to take the bank to court if you can show that the lender broke the law. There are a lot of provisions to this, of course, which your attorney can help you sort through. The reason this was necessary has to do with the robo-signing scandal that erupted in the wake of the housing bust, when banks foreclosed upon untold thousands of homes when there was no proof that they actually had the right to do so.
Gov. Brown described the actions of powerful banks and lenders as greed-driven, with those institutions making billions of dollars off the backs of homeowners who fell prey to predatory loans and illegal actions by banks.
While this is certainly a landmark victory in the fight against abusive foreclosure practices, it does not right all the wrongs - and it won't guarantee your home won't be foreclosed upon. If you're struggling through the process, seek help from a skilled foreclosure attorney.
Orange County Foreclosure Attorney Vincent Howard at Howard Law can help you break free of your underwater mortgage. You can reach us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or send us a message online.