California Senate Approves Protections for Widowed Homeowners: Next Stop: Governor Brown


SB 1150 approval by Senate

Earlier today, California’s Senate approved Senate Bill 1150, legislation designed to protect widows, widowers, and other heirs from unnecessary foreclosures. Senate Bill 1150 (Leno, Galgiani), the Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights (SBOR), was approved by the Senate with 23 votes for it. The bill is now headed to Governor Brown.

Authored by Senators Mark Leno and Cathleen Galgiani, SB 1150 provides critical protections for widowed spouses and other survivors including domestic partners, heirs, siblings, joint tenants, and other people who own their homes but who weren’t listed on the mortgage. SBOR closes a loophole in California law that fails to provide protections to surviving homeowners against foreclosure that are available to other homeowners.

“Today’s vote is an important step forward in protecting California seniors from unnecessary foreclosures that are the direct result of mortgage servicer red tape and intransigence.  We urge Governor Brown to sign SB1150 into law, and we extend our gratitude to all of the surviving homeowners who have courageously testified and shared their difficult stories about the need for SB 1150, as well as the more than 60 organizations supporting SB 1150” comments Kevin Stein, associate director at the California Reinvestment Coalition, a co-sponsor of SB1150.

“Attorneys at HERA have worked with dozens of surviving homeowners facing this problem, and while each story is unique, the obstacles they’ve faced from their servicers are not. Servicers refuse to speak with surviving homeowners, give them misleading and inaccurate information about options to retain their home, refuse to accept payments, and attempt to foreclose on them. SB 1150 puts a stop this bad behavior and helps to protect the largest asset most of us will ever own. We hope Governor Brown agrees that protecting seniors from these needless foreclosures makes sense” explains Maeve Elise Brown, executive director of Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, a co-sponsor of SB 1150.

“We’ve worked hard to educate our legislators about the very real impact this problem is having on California seniors, and today’s vote is an acknowledgement that SB 1150 is smart public policy. We encourage Governor Brown to sign this bill to help protect Californians, especially seniors, and especially women, from these needless foreclosures” adds Nan Brasmer, president of the California Alliance of Retired Americans, a co-sponsor of SB 1150.

Broad Support: SB 1150 is co-sponsored by Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), and the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA). SB 1150 is supported by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and over 60 well-known organizations, including AARP California, Courage Campaign, CalPIRG, the Multicultural Real Estate Alliance for Urban Change, the National Council of La Raza, National Housing Law Project, Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County, and more. To see a full list of supporters, visit

White Paper: Housing and Economic Rights Advocates released a white paper focused on this issue. The paper (Whose Home Is It Anyways?) explains how women are far more likely to be impacted by this issue; that these needless foreclosures wipe out the main asset most Americans (especially older Americans) own; that older Americans overwhelmingly prefer to “age in place;” and that banks are actively lobbying against these important protections. The paper is available for free download here: Whose Home Is It Anyway? How The Modern Mortgage Servicing Industry Strips Wealth From Low and Moderate Income Communities In the U.S. And California