State Sen. Justin Jones, D-Las Vegas, co-sponsor of the Homeowners' Bill of Rights
BY IAN MYLCHREEST -- Fixing the foreclosure crisis is a work in progress. Still.
The Nevada Legislature is considering SB321 – the Homeowners’ Bill of Rights. That law would force lenders to provide one point of contact, and get rid of the paper and phone chase, that has typically dogged efforts to get any loan modification approved.
It would also ban so-called “dual-tracking,” says State Senator Justin Jones (D-Las Vegas) in a recent interview. That’s the practice of banks proceeding with foreclosure at the same time as they are supposed to working on a loan modification with the homeowner. That has led to much frustration among homeowners who believed that any foreclosure would be halted.
Many people would have been able to keep their homes, says Jones. They did not know what their options were and had simply become frustrated once they were deeply underwater.
Even though home prices and sales were picking up in the valley, Jones insists that there was still a long way to go and that this measure was necessary. “A lot of people are still facing loss of jobs,” he notes. “They’re facing payments they can’t afford and facing adjustable rate mortgages that are coming up for adjustment here soon and I think we really need to help those people.”
Jones says that not all homes can be saved, but that the bill of rights would give homeowners a fair opportunity to decide whether they should try. At the committee hearings last week, bankers’ representatives were more doubtful, saying that many people still faced big hurdles such as unemployment and that these procedural safeguards would not help those people.
Jones dealt with the problem firsthand. His grandparents were overwhelmed when they had got behind in their mortgage and as an attorney he tried to help, he said. Even a lawyer, he said, had been “given the runaround.”