As part of the package of more than 150 new laws that took effect July 1, a key measure gave homeowners in danger of foreclosure a right to mediation. Gov. Martin O'Malley pressed for and won added protection for homeowners in financial trouble. The new law helps homeowners at several stages in the foreclosure process. When a lender notifies a homeowner about a possible foreclosure, it must also provide information about modification programs, including the federal Home Affordable Modification Program and local nonprofit assistance. Before a foreclosure can occur, a lender must file an affidavit in court attesting that it has evaluated the homeowner's eligibility for loss mitigation programs and state the basis for any denial, according to the governor's spokesman. If the homeowner disagrees with the lender's conclusion, he or she can pay a $50 fee and take part in a court-supervised mediation program with the lender.
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