For release June 11, 2013
Contact: George McCabe, B&P Public Relations
Homeowners fared well in Legislature, says NVAR, citing laws shaped by its “Face of Foreclosure” reports
Homeowners fared well in the recently concluded 2013 session of the Nevada Legislature, according to leaders of the Nevada Association of REALTORS (NVAR).
“I was particularly proud to see that some of the key recommendations from our NVAR ‘Face of Foreclosure’ reports were included in some of the laws passed by the Legislature this session,” said NVAR President Patty Kelley, a longtime local REALTOR. “Overall, our leadership and government affairs team believes this is one of the better sessions in recent years for our members and for homeowners in Nevada.”
For example, Kelley cited AB300, a bill dealing with foreclosure issues passed unanimously by the state Senate and Assembly and signed into law June 1 by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to amend a well-publicized law passed in 2011 known as AB284.
After studying foreclosure-related issues for nearly four years, NVAR released its latest “Face of Foreclosure” report in January, offering recommendations for state lawmakers and discounting fears about a so-called “shadow inventory” of foreclosed homes. NVAR’s recommendations included amending language in AB284 to remove barriers that may be discouraging banks from foreclosing when such action is truly warranted. AB284, a law originally sought by Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto primarily to curb “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents and similar abuses, has been blamed by some critics for stalling or preventing foreclosures and reducing the number of homes available for sale.
Working with Nevada REALTORS, title companies, banks, consumer counseling agencies and other interested parties, state lawmakers made such changes to this law via AB300, sponsored by Assemblyman Jason Frierson and Sen. Michael Roberson. Most of all, as suggested by NVAR and its “Face of Foreclosure” report, Kelley said the new law changed the requirement that lenders must have “personal knowledge” of a mortgage loan’s paper trail before initiating foreclosure proceedings. Specifically, AB300 now allows lenders to proceed with the foreclosure process once their officials can show they have reviewed the necessary “business records” related to the deed of trust on the property. It also revised the information required to be stated in the affidavit in an effort to provide consumers with more information about their current mortgage payoff amount and the balance due to bring their delinquent loan current.
“These changes should lead to more homes being put on the market for sale,” Kelley explained. “This will help our members and prospective homeowners who are having a hard time finding a home at a time when demand far exceeds supply in our state. This should also help homeowners who are truly interested in working with their lenders to proceed in an orderly manner to either come current on their loan, or exit the property in a graceful and respectable fashion.”
Other key recommendation from NVAR’s “Face of Foreclosure” report called on lawmakers to clarify and limit the role of attorneys who have become increasingly involved in the real estate business, often encouraging homeowners to “walk away” from their mortgage, file bankruptcy and take other more drastic actions when they may be better served by working with lenders, free counseling services and REALTORS to seek a short sale. To address this issue, lawmakers and the governor approved SB47, a new law that requires attorneys acting as a foreclosure consultant or foreclosure purchaser to be licensed with the state Mortgage Lending Division.
As for bills that failed to become law, Kelley said NVAR was pleased that lawmakers did not impose a sales tax on the services of REALTORS and others since this could have harmed the real estate industry and the state’s economy. She said NVAR also opposed SB424, which failed to pass the Assembly. It would have forced banks to reduce the principal mortgage amount on primary residences by giving homeowners who are behind in their mortgage payments the right of first refusal when the bank forecloses on the home. NVAR argued this bill could have led to predatory lending practices, among other unintended consequences.
NVAR highlighted the following new laws as positive developments:
• SB321 – This “Homeowner’s Bill of Rights,” sponsored by Sen. Justin Jones, is awaiting the governor’s signature. A key aspect of this bill prohibits banks from “dual-tracking,” or trying to foreclose on a home at the same time they are working toward a short sale with the homeowner.
• SB278 – This bill, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Ford, was signed into law June 1 to expire June 30, 2017, defining what constitutes an abandoned home and hopefully putting more properties on the market. It allows local governments to create a registry of abandoned properties and allows a property owner to sign an affidavit declaring a property to be abandoned.
• AB334 – This law takes effect Oct. 1, exempting real estate licensees and property managers from having to have a contractor’s license to hire licensed contractors to perform routine home repairs and improvements up to $10,000 per listing agreement, or every six months for each rental property. The bill was brought forth by Assemblyman James Healey at NVAR’s request.
Kelley said NVAR represents the interests of Nevada REALTORS and property owners and hopes its “Face of Foreclosure” reports continue to help government and industry leaders understand and address issues facing homeowners in Nevada, where home prices have rebounded in the past year after having one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates.
NVAR’s award-winning reports used information from Silver State Analytics and research by national research firm SGS. SGS compiled data from leading sources, held focus groups and polled thousands of Nevadans, including those who had either experienced or narrowly avoided foreclosure. View the NVAR report and video at www.FaceOfForeclosure.com.
About the NVAR
The Nevada Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade association with more than 13,000 members. NVAR is committed to protecting, promoting and preserving our communities. Visit www.NVAR.org.
# # #