New homeowner protections go into effect Jan. 1
The start of the new year brings more protections to California homeowners, mainly those who are trying to save their properties from being repossessed.
Making sense of the story
• The Homeowner Bill of Rights, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012, is a set of new laws that puts the onus on banks to help consumers through the foreclosure process. The legislation, which went into effect Jan. 1, forces banks to stop dual tracking and robo-signing, and assign one point of contact to borrowers who are trying to obtain a loan modification.
• Dual tracking is the process of starting the foreclosure process while a loan modification has been submitted or is being reviewed by the bank. Borrowers in the past have lost their homes to foreclosure as a result of this situation.
• 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, the process of approving foreclosure documents without proper review, also is prohibited.
• One of the laws also allows borrowers to sue loan servicers for violating any foreclosure laws.