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February 3, 2012 > Bill assisting distressed homeowners passes Senate

Bill assisting distressed homeowners passes Senate

Submitted By Andrew LaMar

Legislation by Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro) to extend assistance to homeowners caught in the nation's mortgage crisis passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support on January 23, 2012.

Senate Bill 708 requires lenders to contact property owners to attempt to avoid foreclosure, provides tenants additional time to move from a foreclosed property and mandates that properties that have been foreclosed continue to be maintained to limit any negative impact on the value of neighboring homes.

"The housing downturn and its fallout have wreaked havoc on thousands of Californians and their communities," Corbett said. "Unfortunately, foreclosures remain a major problem throughout the state. This legislation continues important protections for homeowners and renters that have proved tremendously helpful in this trying time."

The provisions of SB 708 were first enacted in 2008 with Senate Bill 1137, which Corbett co-authored, but that legislation is set to expire at the end of 2012. SB 708 extends the same protections through 2017.

Across the state, housing values have plummeted and areas hardest hit by foreclosures have become blighted with vacant, neglected homes. In November 2011, 63,000 properties (one out of every 211 housing units) received a foreclosure filing.

Nationally, more than 10 million Americans are expected to default on home loans in 2012.

The bill, which passed two policy committees in the Senate before coming to the floor, goes next to the Assembly.

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