May 27, 2018

Calif. Weighs Bill to Help Widows Stay in Homes

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Calif. Weighs Bill to Help Widows Stay in Homes

A new bill introduced in the California state senate aims to help widowed spouses and children stay in their homes even after the primary mortgage holder's death. The Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights would protect surviving spouses and children against foreclosure. 

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The bill, Senate Bill 1150, would expand California Home Owners' Bill of Rights -- which took effect in 2012 -- and also provides some safeguards to home owners against foreclosure, such as preventing a lender from foreclosing on a home while owners are simultaneously seeking a loan modification. 

“Unfortunately, servicers argue that surviving family members who are not named on the loan are not covered by HBOR,” note Calif. State Senators Mark Leno and Cathleen Galgiani in a statement. “These survivors report that lenders refuse to communicate with them or fail to provide factual information about loan details and foreclosure avoidance programs. As a result, many families have endured unnecessary foreclosures.”

If the legislation is approved, heirs would receive "accurate information" about loan assumption and foreclosure prevention programs, the senators' statement reads. 

“Grieving family members who have the financial ability to remain in their homes following a loved one’s death shouldn’t have to face the added stress of a lender’s red tape,” Leno said. “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.”

The bill goes before Senate policy committees this spring. 

Source: "California Considering Bill That Would Help Widowed Spouses Keep Their Homes," HousingWire (Feb. 26, 2016)