California lawmakers have approved a bill aimed at stopping abusive practices by mortgage lenders and helping homeowners avoid foreclosure.
The legislation would bar banks from moving ahead with foreclosures while still negotiating with homeowners over loan modifications.
"Hopefully it will help get me a modification. That’s all I ever wanted," said Beverly Roberts of South Los Angeles.
The 75-year-old grandmother told NBC4 that her $2,000 monthly mortgage payment tripled after a bad refinancing loan. She has dealt with five different lenders with no modification.
The California Homeowners Bill of Rights, passed Monday, now lays out protections for Roberts and thousands of homeowners in the state just like her.
The package is a series of bills that also require banks and other lenders to assign a single point of contact to each borrower, so homeowners aren't in the position of negotiating with one bank employee, only to wind up on a merry-go-round of customer service representatives who are unfamiliar with the case.
Another provision is aimed at protecting people who are renting homes that go into foreclosure.
It would make it illegal for the new owner to break a lease with an existing tenant. And it would require banks or new owners to give tenants a 90 day notice before evicting them after a foreclosure.
The legislation was sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris. It was introduced in the state senate as SB 900, and in the Assembly as AB 278.
Governor Jerry Brown has not formally weighed in on the legislation, but he is expected to sign it in the coming days.