SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the non-conference committee components of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights have passed out of legislative committees.
“The entire Homeowner Bill of Rights legislative package will create a level playing field for California homeowners,” said Attorney General Harris. “In addition, it will allow my office to continue to prosecute those who take advantage of homeowners who are desperate to stay in their houses.”
Assembly Bill 1950, authored by Assemblymember Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles), passed out of the Senate Judiciary today. The bill extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting mortgage related crimes from one year to three years, giving the Department of Justice ample time to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud crimes.
Two bills to provide additional protections to tenants who rent homes that are foreclosed upon also passed out of the Senate Judiciary and Assembly Judiciary Committees today.
Assembly Bill 2610 (Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley) and Senate Bill 1473 (Senator Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley), will require purchasers of foreclosed homes to give tenants at least 90 days before starting eviction proceedings. If the tenant has a fixed-term lease, the new owner must honor the lease unless the owner demonstrates that certain exceptions intended to prevent fraudulent leases apply.
Also passing out of the Judiciary Committees were Assembly Bill 2314 (Assemblymember Wilmer Carter, D-Rialto) and Senate Bill 1472 (Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills), which provide additional tools to local governments and receivers to fight blight caused by multiple vacant homes in neighborhoods.
The final component in the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, AB 1763 (Assemblymember Mike Davis, D-Los Angeles) and Senate Bill 1474 (Senator Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley), gives Attorney General Harris the ability to convene a special grand jury to investigate and indict the perpetrators of financial crimes involving victims in multiple counties. AB 1763 and SB 1474 passed out of the Senate Public Safety and Assembly Public Safety, respectively.
Two key parts of the Homeowner Bill of Rights passed Monday out of both houses of the Legislature and sent to Governor Jerry Brown. Those bills, which came out of a two-house conference committee, provide protections for borrowers and struggling homeowners, including a restriction on dual-track foreclosures, where a lender forecloses on a borrower despite being in discussions over a loan modification to save the home. The bills also guarantee struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers.
The California Homeowner Bill of Rights extends Attorney General Harris’ response to the state’s foreclosure and mortgage crisis. Attorney General Harris created a Mortgage Fraud Strike Force in March, 2011 to investigate and prosecute misconduct related to mortgages and foreclosures. In February 2012 Attorney General Harris extracted a commitment from the nation’s five largest banks to dedicate an estimated $18 billion to mitigate financial harm to California borrowers caused by bank misconduct in the foreclosure process.
For more information on the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, go to www.oag.ca.gov