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California to Mortgage Servicers: Remember Duty to Struggling Homeowners

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sent a letter [1] to 33 mortgage servicing entities warning them that his office is monitoring their activities in regard to the state’s Homeowner Bill of Rights. He warned he will not hesitate to enact investigative and enforcement actions if they fail to "commit adequate resources to meet their legal obligations during and in the wake of the coronavirus crisis."

While Becerra’s letter offered no evidence that mortgage servicers were exploiting homeowners undergoing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, he nonetheless requested that the servicers provide information by August 31 for a designated contact person that would detail how they are handling coronavirus-related matters.

Becerra’s letter offered an overview of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights in regard to dealing with the pre-foreclosure and foreclosure processes and how servicers must provide homeowners "a meaningful opportunity to avoid losing their home." The letter also reminded servicers that state law provides protections to tenants in homes that are sold in foreclosure, including offering at least 90 days advance written ahead of any eviction. 

"As the dual economic and public health crises continue, many California homeowners may fall behind on their mortgage payments," said Becerra in a press statement. "During times like these we must rely on laws, such as the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, to provide a safeguard for families who are one payment away from losing their homes. We take the rights of homeowners very seriously and expect all mortgage servicers to comply with the law."

Becerra’s press statement also listed his activities on behalf of homeowners and residents since the pandemic began, including is role in a coalition of 35 attorneys general that sent letters to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Federal Housing Finance Agency director Mark Calabria seeking additional protections for homeowners who were financially impacted by the pandemic.