UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 26, 2009

PRO-LENDER STATE LAWS ENDANGER MILLIONS OF HOMEOWNERS

The nationwide foreclosure surge that has driven millions of Americans from their homes has been fueled by antiquated state laws that favor banks and other lenders and deny basic protections to homeowners. That's the main conclusion of a new report from the National Consumer Law Center
The report, which examines the laws that govern mortgage foreclosures in the 50 states, concludes that many states give renters facing eviction more rights than homeowners facing foreclosure.

Examples of the "homeowner unfriendly" provisions on the books in most states include: nearly 30 states that allow mortgage holders who allege that homeowners have fallen behind in their payments to move directly to take away and auction off homes, without any involvement by a court or any impartial decision-maker; all but two states allow mortgage holders to move directly to foreclosure without being required by state law to consider or discuss ways to avoid home loss, such as through modification of the terms of the loan; and all but three states put no obligation on the mortgage holder to give homeowners a chance to catch up on missed payments before often crushing legal fees and foreclosure costs make that impossible. Among other anti-homeowner provisions cited in the report are in more than 40 states with no requirement that homeowners be personally served with a foreclosure notice or legal documents that start a court foreclosure case.

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