New Jersey ranks right up there with six other states and our nation’s capital as having a disproportionate amount of minorities that have lost their homes since the housing crisis began. Over half of the residents in these states have been unable to stop foreclosure of their homes. For this reason, many people are fighting for a “Homeowner Bill of Rights” designed to protect homeowners from unfair practices by lenders.
It is hoped that as states adopt a Homeowner Bill of Rights that the disparity between minority foreclosure rates and those of the rest of the nation equalize. In one state, minority homeowners have double the chance of having a foreclosure filed against them than the rest of the homeowners struggling in the state. One state on the west coast has adopted a Bill of Rights for homeowners which has already been successfully tested in the court system.
Such a Bill of Rights would prevent lenders from pursuing a foreclosure while the homeowner’s request for a loan modification is being processed. If a loan modification is denied by the lender, it will be required to provide the homeowner with a detailed list of reasons why and a procedure to appeal that decision that is easy to understand. Lenders would be required to try everything before resorting to foreclosing on a home loan.
At this time, it isn’t known whether New Jersey is considering adopting a Bill of Rights for homeowners. Until our state makes that decision, homeowners, minority or otherwise, may consider filing bankruptcy as a way to stop foreclosure and possibly even save their home. Ordinarily, people that are struggling with their mortgage are also struggling with other debt that could also be handled by filing bankruptcy, which would give homeowners a fresh start financially.
Source: blackvoicenews.com, “Homeowner Bills of Rights Emerge as Remedies to Foreclosure,” Charlene Crowell, May 29, 2013