Homeowners Bill of Rights – New Law!

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights takes effect on January 1, 2013 to ensure fair lending and borrowing practices for California homeowners.

The laws are designed to guarantee basic fairness and transparency for homeowners in the foreclosure process. Key provisions include:

Restriction on dual track foreclosure: Mortgage servicers are restricted from advancing the foreclosure process if the homeowner is working on securing a loan modification. When a homeowner completes an application for a loan modification, the foreclosure process is essentially paused until the complete application has been fully reviewed.

Guaranteed single point of contact: Homeowners are guaranteed a single point of contact as they navigate the system and try to keep their homes – a person or team at the bank who knows the facts of their case, has their paperwork and can get them a decision about their application for a loan modification.

Verification of documents: Lenders that record and file multiple unverified documents will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $7,500 per loan in an action brought by a civil prosecutor. Lenders who are in violation are also subject to enforcement by licensing agencies, including the Department of Corporations, the Department of Real Estate and the Department of Financial Institutions.

Enforceability: Borrowers will have authority to seek redress of “material” violations of the new foreclosure process protections. Injunctive relief will be available prior to a foreclosure sale and recovery of damages will be available following a sale. (AB 278, SB 900)

Tenant rights: Purchasers of foreclosed homes are required to give tenants at least 90 days before starting eviction proceedings. If the tenant has a fixed-term lease entered into before transfer of title at the foreclosure sale, the owner must honor the lease unless the owner can prove that exceptions intended to prevent fraudulent leases apply. (AB 2610)

Tools to prosecute mortgage fraud: The statute of limitations to prosecute mortgage-related crimes is extended from one to three years, allowing the Attorney General’s office to investigate and prosecute complex mortgage fraud crimes. In addition, the Attorney General’s office can use a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict the perpetrators of financial crimes involving victims in multiple counties.
(AB 1950, SB 1474)

Tools to curb blight: Local governments and receivers have additional tools to fight blight caused by multiple vacant homes in their neighborhoods, from more time to allow homeowners to remedy code violations to a means to compel the owners of foreclosed property to pay for upkeep.
(AB 2314)

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights marked the third step in Attorney General Harris’ response to the state’s foreclosure and mortgage crisis. The Mortgage Fraud Strike Force was created in May 2011 to investigate and prosecute misconduct at all stages of the mortgage process. In February 2012, Attorney General Harris secured a commitment from the nation’s five largest banks for up to $18 billion for California borrowers.

Have questions regarding YOUR rights as applied to the new Bill of Rights? Contact Josh Bonnici right away to make sure you and your family are protected!



What is a foreclosure action?

A foreclosure proceeding is different than most other types of litigation. In its simplest form, a foreclosure proceeding is comprised of several distinct steps that result in an order being entered in State Court permitting your lender to sell your property. While the process can generally take several months to complete, if you ignore the summons and complaint when it’s service, you could lose valuable rights that you cannot get back.

Let’s face the facts. By now you are a number of months behind on your mortgage. You may even have tried to modify your mortgage and have been unsuccessful. In addition, you may be behind on your other obligations as well, including credit cards, medical and/or utility bills.

Now is the time to look at your overall financial situation – not just the immediate problem at hand, and seek the assistance of an experienced professional.

If you have fallen into your present situation because of a temporary financial setback, and you now believe that you have the ability to begin to catch up, the bankruptcy laws may be able to assist you. If you have owned your property for an extended period, or have substantial equity that you want to protect, the filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition can provide you with the immediate protection of your assets as well as the opportunity to catch up on you debts within a 3 to 5 year period. However, it is important to speak with an attorney to determine if filing for bankruptcy is the best option for your unique situation.

While things in California may be looking brighter, foreclosure activity is still high across the nation. If you have received a foreclosure notice already or if you have just begun to fall back on your loan payments, turn to a foreclosure attorney right away to schedule a consultation and protect your rights as a homeowner.

An attorney with the Bonnici Law Group will review your financial status to determine a viable plan that will prevent the seizure of your home.​

Contact an attorney at the Bonnici Law Group today to get started on your case and save your property from bank repossession.