Retribution for foreclosed homeowners still possible

Homeowners still have a chance to be compensated for faulty 2009-2010 foreclosures, according to a recent news report. The Federal Reserve Board announced theIndependent Foreclosure Review deadline has been extended to September 30, 2012. The Federal Reserve Board also released guidelines for determining compensation for eligible homeowners.

Only homeowners whose primary residences were involved in a foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 are eligible for the program.

Forms of compensation available through the program include:

  • lump-sum payments from $500 to $125,000;
  • loan modifications;
  • correction of credit reports; and
  • correction of deficiency amounts/records.

Applying to the program does not bar applicants from pursuing other remedies for faulty foreclosures.

The Independent Foreclosure Review is a well intended attempt to defend injured homeowners, but it has received only a quiet response. Nationally, of the 4.5 million homeowners eligible for the program, only 338,400 have requested a review — a paltry 7.5% of those qualified.

Still, the effort required of homeowners is minimal and the review is free, so homeowners have nothing to lose by submitting an application to program.

The foreclosure review program is exclusive to already-foreclosed homes. However, current and future California homeowners can look forward to protection provided by the recently passed Homeowner Bill of Rights. A portion of the Bill of Rights is still under consideration, but as of July 11, 2012, its first protections have been signed into California law.

Included in the new Homeowner Bill of Rights are prohibitions against robo-signing and the simultaneous processing of a loan modification and foreclosure on the same property. Homeowners victimized by these lender practices may sue lenders for up to $50,000. The law is effective from January 1, 2013 to January 1, 2018.

Judging by the low numbers of homeowners seeking any remedy for their faulty foreclosures, legislators appear more aware of homeowner need than those eligible to be recipients of protection or intervention from government programs.

Agents, as go-betweens for homeowners and real estate professionals should spread awareness of these programs to homeowners. FARM letters focused on the Independent Foreclosure Review or Homeowner Bill of Rights are beneficial to buyers and sellers and foster a relationship of trust between agents and potential clients.

Help a realty brother out! Tell him about his legal remedies for faulty foreclosure.


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