The rights that apply to the distressed homeowners Real Estate Law Center works with consist of:
Restrictions on dual track foreclosure — Banks are prohibited from foreclosing on a home while the homeowner is trying to obtain a loan modification. When a loan modification application is completed, the foreclosure process is paused until the application's review is completed.
Guaranteed single point of contact: Banks need to offer a single person, or a team of people, who a homeowner can speak to who knows about their case, has access to their paperwork, and is in a position to get a loan modification decision.
Verification of documents: A lender that records and files multiple documents that are unverified, shall be subjected to civil penalties of up to $7,500 per loan. Violating lenders may also be in violation of the Department of Real Estate, Department of Corporations, and the Department of Financial Institutions.
Tenant rights: The purchaser of a foreclosed home is required to give tenants a minimum of 90 days before they begin eviction proceedings. Should the tenant have a fixed-term lease which they entered into prior to the transfer of the title at the foreclosure sale, the lease must be honored by the owner unless the owner proves that there are exceptions intended to prevent fraudulent leases.
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 may utilize a statewide grand jury which would investigate and indict perpetrators of financial crimes that involve victims from multiple counties.
While some of these rights may seem obvious, many of the banks have dodged their responsibilities as lenders. Many homeowners discovered that during the mortgage crisis banks continued to move to seize their homes even as they were in the process of renegotiating their loans. They also found themselves having to speak to many people who had varying degrees of knowledge about their case. Now that legal penalties are outlined, there will be an incentive for banks to pay attention to the people they have wronged.
However, banks have a history, especially in the last few years, of preserving their own self interest at the expense of homeowners. Real Estate Law Center will use these new legal tools when it represents its’ clients.
Now that rights pertaining to restrictions regarding dual track foreclosure, verification of documents, guaranteed single point of contact, and tenant rights have been defined, homeowners and Real Estate Law Center now know when banks are out of bounds.
More importantly, now that enforcement mechanisms are in place, Real Estate Law Center can now back up its’ civil mass tort lawsuits with even more legal entanglements for the banks if they are not forthcoming.