New Hampshire House Bill 309, a bill intended to give homeowners more warning when facing foreclosure, was ended by voice vote in the New Hampshire, killing the bill, citing objections from banks and credit unions.
Concord Monitor reports that the Bill would have required a sheriff to hand-deliver a notice of sale to a delinquent homeowner, noting that under the present law, that notice must only be mailed to the homeowner. Additionally, the bill would require that the notice itself explicit about the recourse a homeowner has to fight the non-judicial foreclosure procedure if he or she believes it was illegally issued.
“The committee found that there was a large amount of opposition to the bill form various stakeholders and the financial community,” said Senator Harold French.
Opposition to the bill, including banks, credit unions and municipalities, argued that the bill would have slowed the foreclosure process significantly and tie up the court decision. Opponents of the bill also argued that procedures developed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have already created guidelines for banks to follow during foreclosures, though advocates have said they are poorly enforced.
Senator Dan Feltes expressed his disappointment in the final decision.
“Establishing a process and going through it in some cases will expedite the (legal) process, rather than putting the onus on homeowners to go to court to stop a potentially unlawful foreclosure and instead going through a process right away ... is what most the states do,” he said.
Those in support of the bill, including Feltes as well as New Hampshire Legal Assistance, a provider of legal resources for low-income homeowners, state that notices can be lost or ignored when sent in the mail, and HB 309 offers a safer and more direct way of communicating with homeowners facing foreclosure. Advocates note that many homeowners, though they know they may be behind on payments, may not be aware of how behind they are.