Senate Bill 1552B (passed by the House Rules committee unanimously) would provide key protections toOregonhomeowners. The B engrossed bill includes most provisions of SB 1552 and SB 1564 as passed by the Senate and would provide strong foreclosure protection toOregonhomeowners. The B engrossed bill contains the following elements:

  • Mandatory Meeting with Distressed Homeowners – Requires lenders to meet with homeowners who are underwater to discuss alternatives to foreclosure with a third party mediator upon borrower request.
  • Mediation for Homeowners in Default – Requires lenders to meet face to face with homeowners in default to negotiate possible alternatives prior to foreclosing, unless homeowner chooses to opt-out. 
  • Housing Counseling – Requires a homeowner visit a housing counselor prior to proceeding with mediation.
  • Fast Track to Mediation – If the homeowner is unable to get an appointment with a housing counselor within 30 days, the housing counselor requirement is waived so the homeowner can proceed directly to mediation.
  • Advance Notification – Notice of mediation must be sent 60 days prior to the notice of sale, which is 180 days before a bank can sell a home in foreclosure. The existing 120 day timeline from notice of default to foreclosure sale remains.
  • Authority to Negotiate – Banks must send someone to mediation that has the authority to accept or reject proposals for foreclosure avoidance measures. If good cause is shown, the mediator may allow the lender’s representative to attend the mediation by other means.
  • Attorney General Oversight – Directs the Attorney General to draft rules and oversee the foreclosure mediation program.
  • No Cost to Homeowner – Allows mediator to waive cost of mediation to homeowner.
  • Exception for Small Lenders – Lenders doing fewer than 250 foreclosures a year (including those filed by affiliates or agents) are exempt from the mediation requirements.
  • End to “Dual Tracking” – Prohibits banks from “dual tracking” homeowners (renegotiating loan terms with homeowners while at the same time  pursuing foreclosure) by only allowing a lender to foreclose if:
  1. The borrower has violated a current foreclosure avoidance agreement, or;
  2. The borrower is not eligible for any foreclosure avoidance measure.
  • Proper Notice – Once a lender has determined it can foreclose, it must provide the homeowner with notice 30 days before the foreclosure date is scheduled. If the sale is postponed, the lender must provide the homeowner at least 15 days’ notice of the new date.                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Right to Damages – A violation of dual tracking provision is liable for a $500 fine, actual damages incurred by the homeowner, and reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing plaintiff.
  • Cloud on the Title – Violation of either mediation or dual track provisions would create a cloud on the home’s title that would prevent a bank from selling an illegally foreclosed upon property.

The  Oregon senate bill 1552 is expected to be signed by Governor Kitzhaber.  Once that happens, these new provisions become effective 91 days thereafter.  

The main thing this does is set up a whole new state-run system of foreclosure workout mediation, which is a pre-requisite to all non-judicial foreclosures by any lending institution which conducts at least 250 of them in a year (so all big banks/servicers are subject).  It requires them to be physically present at the mediation together with authority to negotiate a deal and information such as borrower’s complete payment history, copy of actual note, and chain of title of trust deed.  Interestingly, it also appears to allow for a borrower who is in danger of defaulting to pro-actively make a request for this loan workout mediation ahead of any foreclosure notice being filed by the lender.   This could potentially open up a whole new avenue to getting loan modifications, short sales, and other workout options accomplished.

One other significant new provision is the new law will eliminate any possibility for deficiency in a residential trust deed foreclosure action so long as the borrower (or immediate family) lives in the property at the time of the initial DEFAULT leading to the foreclosure.  This is significant because under the current law, in order to receive this protection, the borrower must live in the property at the time the foreclosure action is commenced, which could be a lot later.  This will make it a lot easier for people to abandon properties to foreclosure without worry of deficiency if they wish to do so.

Two more really significant things in here I forgot to point out earlier:

1)      No more “dual tracking” – basically designed to stop lender from negotiating a workout while at the same time pursuing foreclosure – people will know one way or the other and should reduce those situations where the servicer says everything is coming along great, and then they find out the house was foreclosed on the same day, etc.

2)      This one is similar – lender must re-notify by serving a written notice of any postponement of auction which is either greater than 2 days from initial date or more than one postponement.  This will also eliminate the situation where borrower thinks the auction was cancelled, but really was just postponed by oral proclamation at the time, and no further notice ever required to be given.  This will change that quirky and dangerous system of the past.

The remainder appears to be a lot of language and syntax cleanup of the existing statute.


A temporary federal law gives renters some protections against getting evicted from their homes when a bank forecloses on their landlord. The “Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act” is short—only two pages—and simple: after the completion of a foreclosure of a home or apartment building, the new owners of the property must allow  renters to continue staying there for either 90 days or through the end of their lease, whichever is longer. So even with a month-to-month rental, the renter would be allowed to stay for 90 days after the foreclosure. Of course have to pay rent and fulfill their side of bargain while they remain on the property.

Why has this been a problem? The public focus during this long foreclosure crisis has been on the millions of homeowners losing their single family homes. But many of these homes are in fact rented out to others. And there are also many foreclosures of multiunit residences—everything from duplexes to apartment buildings. In fact research by the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimated that “renters represent as many as 40% of the American families who will lose their homes in this crisis.”

While homeowners have long had an established set of protections during the foreclosure process, renters have had virtually none. Renters often had no idea that their landlord had fallen behind on mortgage payments and that their home was being foreclosed.  They found out only after the foreclosure sale had occurred and the bank or the new owner shocked them with eviction papers. The “Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act” provides at least a modest cushion of time in almost all situations, and the right to the full term of their lease for tenants who bargained for such longer leases.

This straightforward law contains very few exceptions. It does not apply if the tenant is also the owner of the property being foreclosed, or the owner’s spouse, child, or parent. The rental agreement must be genuine, and must provide for payment of rent at about fair market value (or with a legitimate governmental subsidy). Also, if after the foreclosure the new owner intends to live in the home as his or her primary residence, then the tenant must surrender the property after 90 days even he or she has a longer term.

This law is temporary in that it was to expire at the end of 2012. Last year’s financial reform law has extended that expiration to the end of 2014.

Maybe the most important part of the “Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act” is that it sets a threshold standard, but also explicitly states that it shall not “affect the requirements… of any State or local law that provides longer time periods or other additional protections for tenants.” During these last two years many states have recognized the need for tenant protections. If you are a tenant in a house or apartment that you are afraid is being foreclosed upon, contact our office to set up a consultation to discuss this and any other financial concerns you may have.