Bills in General Assembly could change foreclosure process

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – This session, the General Assembly is tackling several bills that could help homeowners facing foreclosure.

Some state politicians call our current process a "drive-by foreclosure." Right now Virginians get a two week notice their home will be sold. According to people who've gone through the process, that's not enough time to fight for their home.

Delegate Bob Marshall of Prince William and Senator Donald McEachin of Richmond are crossing party lines in support of proposed legislation that would change the foreclosure process in Virginia.

Marshall authored HB 1506 which addresses foreclosure fraud by providing criminal and civil penalties for violations of the law. Marshall says he wrote the bill after he learned some mortgage companies were using "robo-signers" and other methods to fraudulently documenting their alleged right to foreclose on homeowners.

HB 1506 would also require at least a 45 day notice before a foreclosure, and it would require mortgage companies to provide a specific person to discuss alternative options with a homeowner.

Through SB 795 and SB 798, Senator Donald McEachin wants homeowners to get more notice that their home will be auctioned.  Right now in Virginia homeowners get a 14-day notice. McEachin also wants to change the state to judicial foreclosure from non-judicial. The change would require all foreclosures to go through the courts. Paperwork from mortgage companies would have to be filed.  Right now a trustee handles a foreclosure in Virginia and 27 other states.

The Virginia Banker's Association reports the average Virginia homeowner in foreclosure is one year behind in payments.

If the General Assembly approves the bills they would apply to mortgages written after July 1, 2011.

For more information on foreclosures in Virginia:

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.