Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., signed the final parts of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights into law this week.
Brown signed senate bill 1474, giving the California attorney general’s office the ability to use a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict the perpetrators of financial crimes involving victims in multiple counties.
Assembly bill 1950 extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting mortgage related crimes from one year to three years, granting the Department of Justice and local district attorneys the more time to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud.
He also signed assembly bill 2610, which requires purchasers of foreclosed homes to give tenants at least 90 days-notice before starting eviction proceedings. If the tenant has a fixed-term lease, the new owner must honor the lease unless the owner demonstrates that certain exceptions intended to prevent fraudulent leases apply.
"California has been the epicenter of the foreclosure and mortgage crisis," said Attorney General Harris said in a statement. "The Homeowner Bill of Rights will provide basic fairness and transparency for homeowners, and improve the mortgage process for everyone."
In July, Brown signed the three other components of the legislation into law.
One of them provides tools to local governments and receivers to fight blight caused by multiple vacant homes in neighborhoods. It gives local governments the ability to impose up to a $1,000 fine for code violations. It must give owners, including banks, at least 14 days to start fixing the alleged violation and 30 days to complete the correction before issuing the fine.
If an investor or homeowner buys a property that was foreclosed on at any point since Jan. 1, 2008, the local government must give at least 60 days to remedy any violations found since taking title. The law does give room to provide less time "if deemed necessary."
The two other bills provide protections for borrowers and struggling homeowners, including a restriction on dual-track foreclosures. The bills also guarantee struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers.