New California Foreclosure Law in Effect

June 15, 2009 7:43:20 PM PDT
A new freeze on foreclosures goes into effect in California. Distressed homeowners now get an extra 90 days to renegotiate their mortgages. Because she's facing foreclosure, 60-year-old "Patti" is too embarrassed to give her full name or show us her face. She's only one month behind on her mortgage payments, but her bank refuses to modify her loan.

"They told me they couldn't help me. They told me the best thing for me to do is to go into foreclosure," she said.

"Patti" is just the type of distressed homeowner California's new 90-day foreclosure freeze could help. It presses banks to follow President Obama's Making Home Affordable Program aimed at modifying certain home loans.

If they don't participate, then foreclosure proceedings are delayed -- a move banks don't like because it allows people to stay in their homes without paying.

Assemblyman Ted Lieu from Torrance wrote the new law.

"The goal is not the moratorium. The goal is to actually get banks to modify people's loans," said Assm. Lieu.

The hope is to stem the tide in a state that's been ground zero of the housing crisis.

While foreclosures have been down in recent months, California continues to be hit hard. This moratorium is the state's third response to the huge problem.

Still, none stopped the foreclosures. Some realtors think the freeze may be good for homeowners in trouble, but bad for the rest of us in the end.

"All kinds of homes that need to be foreclosed on and need to be put back on the market are hung up in the system. And it's that problem that needs to be resolved in order to stabilize the housing market," said PMZ Real Estate president Michael Zagaris.

"Patti" hopes the 90-day freeze buys her enough time to save her house.

"It would mean the world to me because this is my house. Everybody wants to own a house," she said.

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