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California Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill that boosts protection for surviving spouses against foreclosure

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a bill that’s designed to give widows and widowers a better shot at saving their homes when they fall behind on mortgage payments.

Senate Bill 1150 boosts protections against foreclosure for surviving spouses who own their home but are not on its mortgage note.

Consumer groups say survivors — including those who inherit property after a death — face considerable resistance from loan servicers when trying to obtain modifications.

Servicers will generally accept a surviving spouse’s loan payments, but red tape involved in proving ownership can stall a modification while foreclosures proceed, according to advocates.

Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton).

Widows and widowers will now have many of the rights borrowers already have under the California Homeowner Bill of Rights. Among those is a ban on dual tracking — the practice of negotiating with clients to modify a mortgage while simultaneously pursuing foreclosure.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently imposed similar federal rules on servicers nationwide, leading the banking industry to call the California bill unnecessary.

Consumer groups, however, noted that the federal rules won’t take effect for more than a year and they argued that the national regulations are more difficult to enforce. Advocates say the state bill includes a more expansive right to sue to stop a foreclosure or for economic damages if one proceeds.

Industry groups, including the California Bankers Assn., expressed concerns that those rights will expose their members to frivolous lawsuits.



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andrew.khouri@latimes.com

Follow me @khouriandrew on Twitter.

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-widow-foreclosure-20160929-snap-story.html

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