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California AG Backs Expansion of Homeowners' Bill of Rights

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is supporting a bill that expand the state’s Homeowners’ Bill of Rights to include a provision designed to help widowed spouses and children stay in their homes after the primary mortgage holder passes away.

The bill, called the Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights, would expand on the California Homeowners’ Bill of Rights, which was enacted in 2012 and provides a series of protections for homeowners against foreclosures.

The Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights closes a loophole in California law that fails to provide surviving spouses and children important protections against foreclosure that are available to other homeowners, according to the offices of California State Senators Mark Leno and Cathleen Galgiani, who authored the bill.

According Harris’ office, the proposed legislation would allow survivors or heirs to simultaneously apply for both loan assumption and loan modification and provide a single point of contact with the lender.

“Following the devastating loss of a loved one, too many Californians also face the possibility of being stripped of their home,” Harris said.

“This proposed legislation requires mortgage servicers to communicate with spouses and children of deceased homeowners and gives them a fighting chance to stay in their homes,” Harris added. “I thank Senators Leno and Galgiani for their efforts to extend critical financial and legal services to Californians facing unnecessary foreclosures.”

The bill, Senate Bill 1150, “clarifies the responsibilities” of a mortgage lender when a borrower dies and passes the home along to a survivor who wishes to assume the home loan, according to Leno and Galgiani.

“Instead of getting basic information on how to proceed with a home loan following the death of a loved one, surviving spouses and children face a labyrinth of paperwork and conflicting directions and requests, which only prolongs their grief,” Leno said. “Many family members unnecessarily lose their homes without ever knowing they had the right to assume the loan or seek foreclosure remedies. Before more families give up, we must step in.”

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