U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) called for an immediate three-month moratorium on foreclosures in Arizona so lenders and loan servicers can “address rampant problems that have led to homeowners being wrongly removed from their homes.” Congresswoman Giffords’ announcement follows the efforts of numerous attorneys general around the country. Friday morning Connecticut AG, Richard Blumenthal announced the state Judicial Department is halting foreclosures for 60 days to conduct an investigation into defective affidavits. Ally Financial, formerly known as GMAC Mortgage, announced they were halting foreclosures in 23 states last week due to servicers robo-signing foreclosure documents. JPMorgan said Wednesday it was launching investigations into potential robo-signing within its services. Robo-signing refers to the signing of thousands of foreclosure documents without any knowledge to the accuracy of the documents or without knowing what they contained. A California attorney general recently demanded JPMorgan halt all foreclosures within that state. “One family wrongly foreclosed on is a tragedy we simply cannot accept,” Giffords said with regard to Arizona’s foreclosure recall. “The widespread disarray among lenders and loan servicers is making a bad situation worse for many homeowners. A moratorium would give lending institutions and servicers time to get their act together and prevent any more mistakes from being made.” According to data provided by RealtyTrac, one in every 165 homes in Arizona is in the foreclosure process. In August, 47% of all housing transactions were foreclosure sales. Beverly Parker, housing and public benefits manager of Southern Arizona Legal Aid, said oftentimes miscommunication can lead to a wrongful eviction. Arizona state law requires servicers to tell homeowners the date of a trustee’s sale of the property. However, if the sale is postponed, there is no legal obligation to inform the homeowner of the new sale date. Write to Christine Ricciardi.
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