You can read news coverage of Senate Bill 1150 below:
“We hope and expect that when the bill becomes law, that servicers will improve their systems, policies and procedures to be in compliance, and we would hope they would not revert back to harmful practices in a few years time,” said Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition. Los Angeles Times: Bill to protect widows from foreclosure passes in the Senate and heads to Gov. Jerry Brown August 25, 2016.
“We thank the housing counselors and legal aid attorneys who first raised the alarm about this problem, and who have been on the front lines, helping surviving homeowners to try and navigate these Kafkaesque bank bureaucracies,” says Kevin Stein, associate director at the California Reinvestment Coalition, a co-sponsor of SB1150.
“We also appreciate the courage shown by surviving homeowners like Ric Hornor and Blanche Robles who testified about the countless obstacles they (and too many other Californians) faced in trying to retain their homes, and we’re grateful to the more than sixty organizations that supported SB 1150. We urge the senate to approve SB 1150 and Governor Brown to sign it into law to prevent any more California seniors from losing their homes.”DSNews: Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights Approved by Assembly (August 23, 2016.)
“The assembly approval of SB 1150 is an important step forward in California leading the nation when it comes to protecting homeowners from unscrupulous foreclosure practices,” Maeve Elise Brown, executive director of Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, said in a news release Monday. “SB 1150 is a pragmatic way to stop widows, widowers and other heirs from needlessly losing their homes to foreclosure and we hope Gov. Brown signs it quickly.”National Mortgage News: California Assembly Approves Survivor’s Rights Bill August 23, 2016.
Losing a husband or wife is incredibly stressful, but imagine also potentially losing your home as well. Unfortunately, widows and widowers throughout California, many of them senior homeowners, are experiencing this first hand.
If the deceased spouse was the only person listed on the mortgage, then the surviving spouse will face countless obstacles to assuming the loan to retain their family home, creating more stress during an already difficult time. East Bay Times: OpEd: Protect grieving homeowners, pass Senate bill (August 12, 2016).
“We have had positive rules before,” said Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition. “It’s a question whether the rules are followed.”
Stein said servicers have routinely flouted existing requirements for borrowers, but added companies have performed better in California. He attributed that to the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which gives borrowers the right to sue to stop a foreclosure or for economic damages after one occurs if servicers don’t follow state requirements.
The Homeowner Bill of Rights, however, does not apply to survivors or other so-called “successors in interest” who aren’t on the mortgage note. Los Angeles Times: New rules aim to protect widowed homeowners from foreclosure (August 5, 2016).
Although he inherited the property when his wife died, Hernandez is not protected by California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights, a set of regulations that require lenders to work with homeowners to help them save their homes from foreclosure. He’s not protected because his name was not on the loan or title.Instead, Hernandez said he’s been lost in the lender’s maze of paperwork and people.
“I must have faxed the death certificate over a dozen times,” Hernandez said. “They said they couldn’t find it. In the end, they just want to foreclose on the property.”
“The couple applied for a trial modification and it was ultimately approved, but the bank refused to honor it because it was only in Jody’s name and she was unable to sign the agreement due to her death. “I signed it. I sent all the documentation, marriage certificate, death certificate, proof of ownership and they denied it,” Hornor said.” ABC 7: Proposed Bill Could Protect Widows, Children from Foreclosures. (June 28, 2016).
“Instead of getting help, many survivors are facing bureaucratic runarounds, mixed messages, and long delays. In one particularly egregious case near Los Angeles, the servicer “forgot” to tell a widow that her deceased husband had purchased insurance to pay off the home if he passed away.” HousingWire OpEd: California bill to protect surviving homeowners up for vote (June 16, 2016)
“Widowed spouses are being consumed by a labyrinth of processes in an attempt to assume or modify existing home loans after the primary mortgage holder passes away,” Leno said in a news release. “This has led to preventable foreclosures and worsened the suffering of families already thrown in personal crises.” National Mortgage News: California Senate Approves Bill to Expand Rights of Widowed Spouses (June 2, 2016)
“Consumer groups say survivors – including those who inherit property after a death – face considerable resistance from loan servicers when trying to obtain modifications.” Los Angeles Times: Bill aimed at helping widows avoid foreclosure passes state Senate (June 2nd, 2016)
“Survivors ‘make contact with the mortgage servicer to let them know their loved one has died and they ask for what next steps they should take to try to work on modification,’ said Maeve Elise Brown, executive director of the Housing and Economic Rights Advocates in Oakland. ‘That is when the misinformation begins.'” Los Angeles Times: Why more widowed homeowners are struggling to prevent a foreclosure May 3, 2016.
“Losing a spouse or partner is traumatic enough, but some surviving partners find themselves in danger of losing their homes as well because they weren’t listed on mortgage documents.” KQED: Surviving Spouses Can Have Their Homes Foreclosed on if They Aren’t Listed on the Mortgage
“Following the devastating loss of a loved one, too many Californians also face the possibility of being stripped of their home. This proposed legislation requires mortgage servicers to communicate with spouses and children of deceased homeowners and gives them a fighting chance to stay in their homes,” said Attorney General Harris. “I thank Senators Leno and Galgiani for their efforts to extend critical financial and legal services to Californians facing unnecessary foreclosures.” Imperial Valley News: Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Support for SB 1150, Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights (April 22, 2016)
“Instead of getting basic information on how to proceed with a home loan following the death of a loved one, surviving spouses and children face a labyrinth of paperwork and conflicting directions and requests, which only prolongs their grief,” said Senator Leno. “Many family members unnecessarily lose their homes without ever knowing they had the right to assume the loan or seek foreclosure remedies. Before more families give up, we must step in.” LGBT Weekly: Sen. Leno’s Foreclosure Prevention Bill passes key committee (April 21, 2016)
“The Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights closes a loophole in California law that fails to provide surviving spouses and children important protections against foreclosure that are available to other homeowners, according to the offices of California State Senators Mark Leno and Cathleen Galgiani, who authored the bill.” HousingWire: California AG backs expansion of Homeowners’ Bill of Rights (April 20, 2016)
“The legislation ensures that heirs receive accurate information about loan assumption and foreclosure prevention programs, and also gives survivors a single point of contact with the lender and the ability to simultaneously apply for loan assumption and modification.” Reverse Mortgage Daily: California Bill Wants Foreclosure Protections for Surviving Spouses (Feb. 28, 2016)
“Stein said lenders are asking survivors to speak with their deceased spouse, which is ridiculous. He said existing protections are not working for survivors. Eighty percent of housing counselors surveyed said they had clients with problems the bill would solve.” San Jose Mercury News: “Bill introduced to protect California widows, widowers against foreclosure” (Feb. 26, 2016)
“The bill closes a loophole in California law that fails to provide surviving spouses and children important protections against foreclosure that are available to other homeowners, the offices of California State Senators Mark Leno and Cathleen Galgiani said this week.” HousingWire: California considering bill that would help widowed spouses keep their homes (Feb. 26, 2016)
“Widowed spouses are being consumed by a labyrinth of processes in an attempt to assume or modify existing home loans after the primary mortgage holder passes away. This has led to preventable foreclosures and worsened the suffering of families already thrown in personal crises.” National Mortgage Professional Magazine: California Bill Addresses Homeowner Heir Rights (Feb 25, 2016)