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The New Year Brings New Protections for California Homeowners

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On Jan. 1, 2013, California homeowners will benefit from a new law that protects them from wrongful foreclosures and unethical practices by lenders. The California Homeowner Bill of Rights was approved by the state's governor as one measure to regulate the actions of banks against homeowners who are in default or are attempting to refinance or receive a loan modification.

According to Governor Brown, homeowners have suffered from abusive tactics. While acting in good faith, these homeowners are endeavoring to save their homes, while their lenders have not been transparent or committed to working with them.

California's Attorney General Kamala Harris has been instrumental in bringing the new legislation to fruition. According to Harris, the bill, which applies the provisions of the National Mortgage Settlement to all lenders in California, will make the foreclosure process more transparent and fair. As a result, struggling homeowners will benefit, as will the state's community and the housing market, which have suffered from a record high number of foreclosures.

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights protects homeowners in four ways:

  1. The bill prohibits lenders from pursuing a foreclosure if the homeowner has a pending loan modification application. The law provides homeowners with remedies in the event their servicer does not thoroughly review their loan modification application before continuing with foreclosure.
  2. Homeowners will now receive a single point of contact to answer their questions or concerns regarding loan modifications.
  3. Homeowners will now be given additional notice about foreclosures or loan modifications, including advising them when loan modification applications are due and the status of their loan modification or foreclosure.
  4. Lenders who violate the terms of the Bill of Rights are subject to injunctions and/or civil penalties for such actions as robo-signing or knowingly filing inaccurate documents.
  5. Remedies afforded to the homeowner in the event a servicer violates the requirements of the Homeowner Bill of Rights include the right to file lawsuits to block foreclosure and the right to seek monetary damages for up to $50,000 if their servicer violates the terms of the bill.

This bill was passed in mid-2012 and is slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

Anna Cuevas, ex-bank executive turned homeowner advocate known as "America's Loan Modification Guru," has empowered and guided thousands of Americans in keeping their homes from foreclosure through loan modification self-advocacy. A popular blogger (askaloanmodguru.com), Cuevas has been called a "superhero of the loan modification industry" and has been nominated for CNN's Heroes. She is the #1 bestselling author of SAVE YOUR HOME Without Losing Your Mind or Money.