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Homeowners’ Bill of Rights offers relief in Nevada

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Updated: 9/19/2013 9:05 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Come October, Nevada homeowners may find some relief in a new state law known as the Homeowners' Bill of Rights.

It was signed into law last June and was designed to offer protection for homeowners facing foreclosure. When this law goes into effect next month, it should give comfort to people trying to save their home.

That's the intent according to lawmakers behind it.

When the housing market crashed Assemblyman James Healey felt the effects and dealt with a short sale.

"I had lost so much value in my home as so many Nevadans had and what was so frustrating is that the banks wouldn't even deal with you," Healey said.

He's one of the lawmakers that was involved in the passage of this law, empathizing with the people of his district, the third highest foreclosure rate in Nevada. But he wants to give homeowners hope.

"It forces banks to say: 'Have you been given all your options? Have you exercised all your options? And in the end some people may need to lose their homes," Healey said.

Senate Bill 321, the official title, was sponsored by State Senator Justin Jones.

"You're going to be able to talk to a single person instead of being bounced around from person to person, and you're not going to be under the gun when you're seeking foreclosure alternatives with a foreclosure hanging over your head," Jones said.

The law also prevents a practice known as "dual tracking": when a homeowner deals with a bank for a short sale and that bank during that process also forecloses on the home.

Keith Lynam of the Nevada Association of Realtors says it was happening too often.

"We have untold times that we've had an approved short sale only to find out the home was foreclosed on weeks maybe even months prior and no one knew," Lynam said.

And it puts a timeline on transactions between homeowners and banks, which lawmakers say benefits both parties.

However there is some debate in the real estate world about the impact of the bill. There is a theory that it gives a green light to homeowners to continue staying in their homes without paying the mortgage for years. Others say that's just not the case.

Legislators connected to this law say the best thing to forestall the foreclosures is for the economy to continue turning around.
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