More Homeowners' Rights Bills Pass in California Houses
Attorney General Kamala Harris’ “Homeowner Bill of Rights” continues to work through the California Legislature as two more bills pass, the Office of the Attorney General announced Thursday.
AB 2610 and SB 1473 will require buyers of foreclosed homes to allow tenants at least 90 days before starting eviction proceedings. Under the bills, if the tenant has a fixed-term lease, the new owner must honor it unless they can demonstrate that certain exceptions apply. The bills are intended to correct incongruities within California law and between state and federal law.
“Tenants are unsuspecting victims in the mortgage and financial crisis,” said Harris. “They can rent on time but may suddenly find themselves forced to move. These bills will give tenants important rights and fair treatment when they live in a rental that is under threat of foreclosure.”
SB 1473 passed out of the Senate in a 25-13 vote. AB 2610 passed the Assembly in a 54-13 vote.
The Homeowner Bill of Rights, introduced by Harris in February following the National Mortgage Settlement, has been a topic of much debate on both a state and national level.
Advocates argue that the bills are necessary to protect homeowners and renters who have faced difficulties caused by the foreclosure crisis. Critics are calling attention to vague wording in some of the bills’ provisions, saying that they could potentially cause damage to lenders and servicers, further harming the state’s economy.
Some of the other bills in the package saw approval from their houses on Wednesday, including AB 1950, which would extend the statute of limitations on foreclosure-related scams from one to three years. AB 1763/SB 1474 also passed in their respective houses and would give the attorney general the power to form special grand juries for investigations of financial crimes in multiple districts. Two other bills regarding blight prevention (AB 2314 and SB 1472) have also passed in their respective houses.
SB 900 and AB 278, regarding due process and foreclosure reduction, are under review by a Joint Legislative Conference Committee.
Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), author of SB 1473, explained her goal of protecting renters.
“Too often, California tenants are the unwitting victims when a home they are renting is foreclosed on,” said Hancock. “The inconsistency between state and federal law has left renters confused and, at times, misled about their legal protections. This bill provides common sense solutions to help protect California citizens caught in the crossfire of the mortgage foreclosure crisis.”