State lawmakers pass foreclosure protections

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Lawmakers in Sacramento today have passed the so-called “Homeowner Bill of Rights.” The bill is meant to offer homeowners more protections in fighting foreclosure. The bill passed despite the banking industry’s concerns that legislators acted too soon.

Photo by Casey Serin via Flickr/CC

Attorney General Kamala Harris sponsored the legislation, which comes out of a national foreclosure settlement with five major U.S. banks. Harris said the bill would make it illegal for a bank to foreclose on a borrower while a loan modification is underway. “So for those 700,000 homeowners who are currently in the pipeline,” Harris said in a news conference following the vote, “they will have a system that will offer them transparency and fairness.”

The bill also require a single point of contact for homeowners, and would penalize lenders for “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents. Major banks say the measure lacks clear rules and will further hurt the state’s housing market.  The bill now goes to Governor Jerry Brown for consideration.

Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA, spoke to KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis about what this bill would mean for struggling homeowners in the state.