California has enacted Senate Bill 1150. SB 1150 amends California’s Civil Code to provide foreclosure protection to persons claiming to be the successor in interest to a deceased borrower. Upon notice that a borrower has died, before recording a notice of default, the servicer must provide certain information about the loan and allow time for the successor in interest to submit reasonable documentation establishing status and ownership in the real property.
“Those who suffer the loss of a loved one should not also face the possibility of losing their home,” said Attorney General Harris.
SB 1150, authored by Senators Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), will require banks and other mortgage loan servicers—companies that collect payments from borrowers—to communicate with the widowed spouses and survivors of homeowners to ensure that survivors receive accurate information about their options. This legislation will expand protections in the California Homeowner Bill of Rights to the widows and other survivors of homeowners so that they may keep their family homes.
The bill is sponsored by the California Alliance for Retired Americans, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, and California Reinvestment Coalition and has drawn the strong support of many advocacy organizations throughout the state.
In 2012, Attorney General Harris reached a historic settlement with the nation’s five largest banks, securing $20 billion in relief for California homeowners and focusing on the hardest-hit communities. Following the national mortgage settlement, Attorney General Harris helped to enact the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, a landmark package of laws establishing key mortgage and foreclosure protections for California homeowners and borrowers. The laws, which took effect on January 1, 2013, restrict dual-track foreclosures, guarantee struggling homeowners a reliable point of contact at their lender, and require loan servicers to document their right to foreclose.
In May 2011, Attorney General Harris created a Mortgage Fraud Strike Force within the California Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute misconduct at all stages of the mortgage process.