BrokerageIndustry News

New Washington law targets foreclosure scams

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Real estate agents and investors in Washington state are preparing for law changes next month that will place additional responsibilities on those who work with distressed property sales. The legislation, House Bill 2791, is intended to protect consumers from foreclosure rescue scams in which sellers are tricked into transferring ownership of their homes by those offering to save them from the prospect of foreclosure. On June 12, when the new law takes effect, investors who work to purchase pre-foreclosure properties from homeowners will face new fiduciary responsibilities to sellers, "which is something that is sort of an anomaly," said Doug N. Owens, a lawyer who has studied the legislation. Owens is also a member of the Real Estate Association of Puget Sound, a group supporting real estate investors. "It's going to put significant new burdens on investors to participant in that market if they want to continue the way they have in the past. If they want to t...