"We are incredibly grateful for the leadership of bill authors Representative Melissa Hortman and Senator Patricia Torres Ray for their perseverance to pass the Homeowners’ Bill of Rights." ~ Donna Cassutt, Director of Minnesotans for a Fair Economy
Twin Cities, Minnesota (PRWEB) June 05, 2013
Governor Mark Dayton signed Minnesota's Homeowner Bill of Rights on May 24th, representing strong support for struggling homeowners and homeowner rights legislation. It was down to the wire in concluding days of the 2013 Legislative Session that the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Minnesota Homeowners’ Bill of Rights on a bipartisan and unanimous vote of 123-0. Shortly thereafter, the vote gained passage in the Minnesota Senate in a victory vote of 61-1, as reported by Minnesota reporter Eric Fought.
"It is encouraging to be in a state that takes such strong leadership to help keep families in their homes. Minnesota housing advocates have worked hard to see that a foreclosure cannot proceed until the servicer comes under legal compliance. Ensuring struggling homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are well informed about opportunities to save their home, could in turn cut substantial costs of unnecessary foreclosures," says Jenna Thuening, owner of Home Destination.
Minnesota homeowner advocacy groups united together in efforts to have the following included in the Minnesota Homeowner Bill of Rights passage:
1) A ban on “dual tracking”
2) A private right of action for homeowners
3) Mandatory mediation between banks and homeowners in danger of losing their homes, got derailed after the banks’ involvement in drafting the legislation pushed it away. Mediation, however, could re-emerge as an issue in next year’s legislative session.
4) Mandating loan servicers to communicate every option available to homeowners.
Established by agreement among America’s biggest banking institutions, state Attorneys General, and the Administration, a significant need to help more potential home sellers trapped in underwater mortgages exists. The Congressional Budget Office released a report on May 1 stating that 13.2 million mortgages remain underwater, owing more than the homes are now worth. The Homeowners Bill of Rights offers new hope of avoiding foreclosure to many struggling families. The bill's passage is a great way to say that homeownership counts a lot in Minnesota giving housing advocates good reason to celebrate.
At the onset of 2013, the Center for Responsible Lending and its ally Consumers Union jointly offered state policy remedies known as Homeowner Bills of Rights(HBORs) that would protect homeowners, help stop further foreclosures and stabilize local housing markets. Key to these state initiatives is that homeowners gain a private right of action and the right to stop a home foreclosure sale when a servicer breaks the law.
Notable comments after Gov Dayton signed the Minnesota Homeowners Bill of Rights from state legislators as published by the Twin Cities Daily Planet include:
- "Everyone understands there’s still an issue we need to deal with regarding foreclosures. But (we need to) understand what’s happened so far and how that’s been effective, what’s happened at the federal level and how that interacts with what we need to do at the state." ~ House Speaker Paul Thisse
- "The process to move the Homeowner Bill of Rights forward (was) not a simple process. Almost 170,000 people have lost their homes in Minnesota. These individuals only have us to represent them here." ~ Sen. Torres Ray
- "It’s a compromise between the bankers and consumer advocates to give our consumers a little bit more protection in a foreclosure situation." ~ Rep. Hortman.
The Bill''s victory is good for everyone; the lending institutions, homeowners and entire local neighborhoods. Empowering homeowners to responsibly meet their monthly mortgage payments, gain foreclosure help and solutions, and make better home buying decisions is a win-win for every partly involved. The hope is the bill will save taxpayers millions of dollars, avoid unnecessary home loan defaults and provide a boost to the economy, " adds Thuening.
Contact Jenna Thuening, owner of Home Destination for help to avoid a foreclosure or guidance if facing a tangle in the Minnesota foreclosure timeline. For questions about how the passing of Minnesota's Homeowner Bill of Rights may benefit someone, call Home Destination at 612-396-7832.