Bruce Norris is joined once again by President of REventures, Michael Pines. Michael and Bruce are discussing foreclosure law changes in California bill 1137.
Bruce wonders why there are so many loopholes left open for interpretation. Michael says when bills are written so hastily there is not enough time to do the most thorough job. Michael believes 1137 wasn’t done very well. Courts will have to be involved to interpret this law. The courts will be used to set precedence. Some of this could be unconstitutional. These issues will take years to fix. In the short term, we will deal with ramifications. Lenders would have to do some major work to get changes quickly. Lenders might be able to get a preliminary injunction.
The new law effects loans originated January 2003 and December 2007. Bruce asks if former owners can get served. If you were a bonafied purchaser you will have protection under the law and protection on title. If you purchased at trustee sale, that could be another issue. The consumer could collect damages but not get the property back. The lender who did not follow the correct process will be more at risk. However, lawyers and clients could be liable if not done correctly.
1137 was really created to make lenders really sit down with the people to try and work things out. It’s a little vague. Bruce asks if there is any training for those people making these phone calls. Bruce says meetings and phone calls by trained people would be very different. Michael says there is currently no precedence and the lenders are scrambling. Some lenders don’t even know 1137 has passed. Lawyers might be telling some lenders this is unconstitutional and should fight it. There will probably be class action lawsuits.
Title companies are now requiring a letter from the lender making them liable for not following procedure. The title company will make it clear that they are not liable. They do not want to be responsible for this law.
1137 is talking about owner occupied properties. Bruce is wondering what type of products qualify. There could be conflicts with other laws currently on the books including California foreclosure laws.
Under 1137, lenders can get fined up to $1000 a day for a brown lawn. Bruce brings up that the lenders will be out of business very shortly where he buys in Moreno Valley. Bruce brings up a meeting with another city The Norris Group had about this very issue. The City’s perception was that they could only charge at city cost, not at the full $1000. People are already reading this differently. This law will be applied differently in different cities. Michael says this will be a dream bill for lawyers. Some judicial process will be in place so the lenders will be able to fight this. It depends on how much the fines amount to.
Under 1137, neighbors could have brown law and this law doesn’t apply. If an investor buys an REO, the law doesn’t apply. However, if investors purchase at trustee sale, 1137 will apply and the investor will be fined if a brown lawn exists. Michael says this is why many are calling this law unconstitutional. Bruce thinks most trustee sale buyers don’t know they have the same liability as the lenders.
Bruce talks about having bought a property and how there was a fine and how it caused it to stall the closing since the bank didn’t even know. Some lawyers will use SB 1137 to stall the foreclosure process. Bruce tells Michael about that happening with a property where it got retracted because they had done the foreclosure incorrectly. Judges are requiring lenders bring original paper work.
Bruce sees the change in the number of files in the NOD phase since many banks are trying to catch up. It’s a bottleneck since the process has changed.
It’s very common for people in foreclosure to get very active late in the process. If they contact a foreclosure consultant, the people may not be eligible for parts of the bill. Michael says there is an exception but the qualifications are unclear. Lenders probably won’t count on that.
Michael and Bruce discuss whether lenders are getting motivated to sell notes as they would be taking on the responsibility. Buyers should consider the responsibility coming if they are purchasing debt. SB 1137 has not yet solved much of anything. It could create opportunity for investors as the lenders will get much more motivated.
Michael Pines is currently principle of REventures that provides brokerage, investment, and property management services.
Michael has handled all types of civil, commercial, and business lawsuits, including cases involving real estate, insurance insolvency, insurance liability, and professional malpractice, breach of contract, lender liability, and white collar crime.
He has been involved in numerous complex cases including pursing actions against and defending major corporations.
Michael has tried cases in many state and federal courts throughout the Unites States. He represented clients before all levels of the Courts Of Appeal in California including presenting cases before the Supreme Court of California some of which resulted in a law changes for the state.
Michael represented parties and sued the RTC during the S&L crisis and hired an attorney from the law firm that represented the RTC. He is experienced in handling many complex large-scale workouts in and outside of bankruptcy and complex litigation within the insolvency proceedings.
Michael formed and runs the Michaelisa Foundation which engages in various types of charity work. It’s latest project is a “prisoner-canine” or “cell-dog” program. Under this program (dedicated to Michael’s recently deceased “best friend” for about 18 years, dogs will be taken from shelters to prisons. Prisoners will be taught how to train dogs. Then the dogs will be adopted out to good homes.