Las Vegas Sun

October 1, 2014

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A little late, foreclosure crisis addressed

There’s often a horse-out-of-the-barn quality to the work of Nevada’s Legislature, as it is often forced to react to problems months or even years after the original effects are felt.

So two years after thousands of Nevadans began losing their homes to foreclosure, the Legislature is moving a package of bills to ease the crisis while toughening regulation of the mortgage industry.

Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, who is a lawyer for the indigent, has taken the lead, along with Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, and Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas.

The proposals:

• AB149 would require mediation between lenders and borrowers, if the borrower requests it, giving homeowners an opportunity to renegotiate their loan. The judiciary would administer the program.

• AB140 would require banks and landlords to give renters notice if the mortgage on the home they live in is about to be foreclosed.

• Call AB151 the “I can’t read the fine print bill,” as this legislation offered by Conklin would require plain English to describe nontraditional loans and force lenders to disclose future increases in monthly payments. It also would require a mortgage broker to include a license number on each loan, so regulators could track a broker who makes bad loans.

• Schneider would require anyone who has possession of a foreclosure home to maintain it according to the standards of the homeowners association, or absent an HOA, nuisance standards.

• SB128 is intended to help keep track of who owns a foreclosure home.

• AB152 would require additional licensing of “foreclosure consultants” and “loan modification consultants” to prevent scams.

• Sen. Shirley Breeden, D-Henderson, has a bill to give additional notice to overseas military personnel in foreclosure actions so they can renegotiate their loans.

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