Homeowner Bill of Rights Winding Its Way Through the System

Talk about a political football in an election year; probably no other legislative package is more politically charged right now than California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which she introduced February 29. Although it has been a bumpy ride so far, it looks like Harris is slowly getting her way as components of the package continue to work their way through the legislative system.

Composed of six separate bills, a statement from Harris’s office described the Bill of Rights package as necessary “to protect homeowners from unfair practices by banks and mortgage companies and to help consumers and communities with the state’s urgent mortgage and foreclosure crisis.”

Harris’ participation was instrumental in orchestrating the $25 billion settlement among the nation’s five largest banks, 49 state attorneys general and federal agencies. Since introducing the California package of bills she has been criticized for attempting to take the restrictions and regulations imposed by the national settlement and making them permanent law in California, the state which stands to benefit the most from the national settlement (to the tune of $18 billion).

There was a hiccup in April, which members of the press called a setback when two of the component bills were pulled by the state Assembly Committee on Banking and Finance just moments before Harris was to testify on them.

One was a bill aimed at prohibiting so-called “dual tracking” in California, a practice where the banks simultaneously negotiate a loan modification with a homeowner while at the same time proceeding with the foreclosure process. The other was a bill mandating that servicers provide borrowers with a single point of contact in the foreclosure process

Here’s a brief overview of the six components that make up the complete package (for the full rundown of specifics on each component click on the link above for the California Homeowner Bill of Rights):

  • Assembly Bill 1602/Senate Bill 1470 — The Foreclosure Reduction Act of 2012

  • Assembly Bill 2425/Senate Bill 1471 — Due Process Reform Legislation

  • Assembly Bill 2314/Senate Bill 1472 — Blight Prevention Legislation

  • Assembly Bill 2610/Senate Bill 1473 — Tenant Protection Legislation

  • Assembly Bill 1950 — Enhancement of Attorney General Enforcement

  • Assembly Bill 1763/Senate Bill 1474 — Special Grand Jury

Coming up next…the teams take the field and start following the political playbook.
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