SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today sent a letter to 33 mortgage servicers reminding the companies of their obligations to California homeowners and tenants under the Homeowner Bill of Rights. As a wave of coronavirus-related foreclosures and post-foreclosure evictions is expected to hit homeowners throughout the state, today’s letter serves to forewarn mortgage servicers that they must adhere to legal protections for California homeowners. The letter also emphasizes that servicers that fail to adhere to mandatory homeowner protections may face enforcement actions by the California Department of Justice.
“As the dual economic and public health crises continue, many California homeowners may fall behind on their mortgage payments,” said Attorney General Becerra. “During times like these we must rely on laws, such as the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, to provide a safeguard for families who are one payment away from losing their homes. We take the rights of homeowners very seriously and expect all mortgage servicers to comply with the law.”
California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights provides homeowners with the right to fairness and transparency in the pre-foreclosure and foreclosure process and gives homeowners a meaningful opportunity to avoid losing their home. The law also gives rights to tenants living in homes that are undergoing foreclosure. In today’s letter, Attorney General Becerra reminds mortgage servicers that they must commit adequate resources to meet their legal obligations as the coronavirus and economic crisis continues.
During this economic and public health crisis, Attorney General Becerra remains committed to protecting the rights of renters and homeowners in California and across the country. In April, Attorney General Becerra issued updated guidance to California tenants, encouraging them to learn about their rights in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also joined a coalition of 35 attorneys general in sending letters to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria requesting action to better protect homeowners from the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, he joined a coalition of 26 attorneys general in sending a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson requesting further action to protect senior homeowners during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Prior to the pandemic, Attorney General Becerra filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to protect California’s Affordable Housing Act, which provides people with the right to accessible and affordable housing.
You can find more information on mortgages and foreclosures on our COVID-19 Consumer Information and Resources website. For the latest on coronavirus preparedness, information, and response, please visit the websites of the California Department of Public Health, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, and Office of Emergency Services.
A copy of the letter can be found here.