Homeowners, Attorneys to Speak at Hearing on California Homeowner Bill of Rights


Santa Rosa, CA: – May 2, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — A homeowner and several consumer advocate attorneys will speak on one of three panels at a hearing sponsored by State Senator Noreen Evans, the Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, today from 10AM-12PM. The hearing will focus on the California Homeowner Bill of Rights.

Ka Rynn Kelly, an Oakland homeowner, will speak at the hearing about bank red-tape she and her son, Ian, are facing in trying to obtain a mortgage modification. After the death of Ian’s father, they requested a loan modification. Instead, they have faced lengthy delays, received inconsistent information from the bank, and are confronted with a new foreclosure sale date every month. Ms. Kelly commented on their experience: “This entire process is not for the faint at heart.”

Lisa Sitkin, Managing Attorney at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, will testify about her experience working with Ms. Rynn and others in similar situations. She explains: “When a borrower dies, the survivors – often a spouse or child – still face an uphill battle getting the servicer to speak with them, let alone help them resolve any delinquency or other problem with a mortgage account. The process drags on unnecessarily, the information provided to the borrower’s loved ones is incomplete, inconsistent or just wrong, and the survivors sometimes end up facing foreclosure while they are still grieving. The servicers can – and should – be doing a much better job for these families.”

Kevin Stein is Associate Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition,will share feedback he has received from housing counselors and nonprofit attorneys across the state. He comments: “California led the nation in passing the Homeowner Bill of Rights, and it has succeeded in reducing servicing abuses while also giving homeowners a mechanism (a private right of action) to hold their servicer accountable. At the same time, housing counselors report ongoing problems with single-points of contact not returning calls, paperwork being lost when big banks transfer mortgage servicing, widows facing unreasonable red-tape, and deep concerns that assistance promised in mortgage settlements still isn’t reaching the hardest hit communities.”

Additional Context:
The hearing is on Friday, May 2nd from 10am to 12pm and will be held at the Santa Rosa City Council Chambers and webcast at this link: http://sd02.senate.ca.gov/hbor

The hearing includes three panels. Scheduled participants Include: Senator Noreen Evans, Representatives from the California Attorney General’s Office, Data Analytics Firm Property Radar, Housing Counseling Experts, Borrower Advocates, and Mortgage Servicers

Unequal access to mortgage relief: The Government Accountability Office released a report in February 2014, which found statistically significant differences in outcomes relating to trial modifications, cancelations and re-default rates for Limited English Proficient and African American borrowers. The report cites California Reinvestment Coalition surveys of housing counselors and nonprofit attorneys, and is available here: TROUBLED ASSET RELIEF PROGRAM: More Efforts Needed on Fair Lending Controls and Access for Non-English Speakers in Housing Programs

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