By Donna Westfall – January 27, 2017 –
In what may be the first local court case to be pursued under new law, local resident Robert Knight was delighted to stop a foreclosure sale and finally be afforded the protections he’s entitled to under California’s “Homeowner’s Bill of Rights” (HBOR, 2013). In 2016, HBOR was expanded to include heirs and ‘successors in interest’. The new law, effective January 1, 2017, is known as the “Successor’s Bill of Rights” (SBOR, California Civil Code section 2920.7). The rights of heirs of real property now have additional protections under this law.
“There’s still a few hurdles to jump”, said Mr. Knight. “But the new law guarantees me the same rights to foreclosure alternatives as any other homeowner.” Mr. Knight went on to say, “I really have to hand it to Judge McElfresh. Without the restraining order, I’d have lost my home for sure”.
A common problem leading to many foreclosures is that when a homeowner dies, their children may be left without any right to foreclosure options. This happened to Mr. Knight. The new law allows heirs and other ‘successors in interest’ to temporarily stop a foreclosure sale. The bank or lender is then required to provide the same foreclosure alternatives to the heirs of the home as is afforded to all homeowners. Fortunately, Mr. Knight was able to pursue a temporary restraining order stopping the foreclosure sale. Subsequent hearings in January resulted with Mr. Knight being provided the opportunity to apply for various foreclosure alternatives, including loan assumption and other options.
Although Mr. Knight has succeeded in stopping the sale on his own, there are pitfalls to watch for. Success in stopping a foreclosure sale may hinge on proving pertinent documents were sent to the bank or trustees. We asked local paralegal, Wesley Nunn, if he has any pointers. He says, “First, I always recommend hiring an attorney whenever possible. This reduces the risk of something going wrong in court.” Mr. Nunn went on to say, “Next, documentation, documentation, documentation. When you send documents to the bank or mortgage trustees, always send the documents with some sort of tracking. Chances are you’ll eventually need to prove you sent applications, notices and any other documents.”
For now, at least, one home was saved under the new law.