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Attorney General Proposes California Homeowner Bill Of Rights

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – State lawmakers and the Attorney General are looking to make it harder to foreclose on Californians and evict them from their homes.

Calling it the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, Attorney General Kamala Harris on Wednesday announced her sponsorship of six bills that she said are common sense reforms to help homeowners in the state.

KCBS' Doug Sovern Reports:

"(The goal is) To provide (homeowners) with a system where the rules are clear, where everyone gets a fair shot and where everyone has equal standing," said Harris.

State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said the measures include ending what's known as "dual tracking."

"If you're upside-down on your mortgage and you're making a good faith effort by going through loan modification, the banks and the lenders shouldn't be allowed to commence foreclosure proceedings at that same time," he said. "It's common sense. It's dual tracking and it has to stop."

The bills would also ban "robo-signing" and give tenants 90 days instead of 60 to leave if their landlord loses their home to foreclosure.

Harris said California needs these laws because the national mortgage settlement she's negotiated with five major lenders will expire after only three years.

That national agreement is expected to net $18 billion of benefits for California homeowners.

The California Bankers Association released a statement Wednesday in response to the legislative proposals. The following is a portion of that statement:

During the past several years we have seen historic efforts by the government, financial services industry and consumer groups to help millions of borrowers stay in their homes. In California, the CBA has worked with the legislature to enact no fewer than four dozen mortgage-related bills that address everything from loan origination to post-foreclosure practices.

While much of the specifics beyond the materials provided during today's press conference have not been shared with us, we nevertheless are prepared to be a part of the conversation and we welcome that opportunity. We are uncertain, and look forward to understanding, how these solutions, which we understand will apply to all mortgage servicers - banks and nonbanks - will interact with, or conflict with, what has already transpired at the federal level.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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