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Nevada’s Highest Court Revises Foreclosure Mediation Rules

The Nevada Supreme Court has updated the rules governing the state's foreclosure mediation program, which officials say are intended ""to clarify and streamline the processes"" of the program created by the state legislature in 2009 to address Nevada's foreclosure crisis.

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""Periodic revisions of foreclosure mediation program rules have always been anticipated,"" said Chief Justice Michael L. Douglas. ""The Supreme Court intent is to ensure that the program works for those who need and use it â€" both homeowners and lenders.""

""The revised rules"":http://www.nevadajudiciary.us/index.php/viewdocumentsandforms/func-startdown/5925/ take effect March 1, 2011, and expand the time to file a petition for judicial review from 15 to 30 days after a party receives a mediator's statement following mediation.

The court says it has also simplified the process to suspend or terminate a mediator and provided additional protections for homeowners when multiple notices of default are filed.

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The new rules also permit homeowners to give power of attorney to someone to represent them during the mediation process as long as the representatives are Nevada attorneys or otherwise qualified under state law, or there is no compensation provided.

According to a statement from the court, it has also provided clarification on the forms that must be provided by parties in mediations and how to handle temporary modifications, in addition to requiring that agreements to relinquish a home include a specific date when the owner-occupant will vacate the premises.

In addition, the Supreme Court has set up an advisory committee, comprised of ""representative individuals of all sides involved"" in the state's foreclosure mediation program, according to a statement.

This 14-member group is required to meet at least every other month and make recommendations to the Supreme Court about needed improvements and additional rule changes.

The state law enacting the foreclosure mediation program gives judges the power to modify mortgages themselves if it is determined that the lender did not comply with the program guidelines.

But according to a report by the ""_Las Vegas Review Journal_"":http://www.lvrj.com/news/judges-accused-of-predetermining-foreclosure-cases-116525958.html, most state judges have been reluctant to do so even when lenders miss such simple requirements as bringing all the necessary documentation with them to the mediation session, which has prompted attorneys for homeowners to accuse them of ""predetermining"" the outcome in foreclosure disputes in favor of the lenders despite the inherent goal of the state's mediation program to keep Nevadans in their homes.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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