A package of bills designed to protect California homeowners facing foreclosure and signed into law Wednesday have drawn praise from consumer groups and criticism from some industry participants. Identical bills S.B. 900 and A.B. 278, which make up the key provisions of the legislation, were passed by the state Legislature last week and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. Known as the Homeowner Bill of Rights, the legislation bans so-called "dual tracking" and will stall the foreclosure process while mortgage servicers review applications for a loan modification. Servicers will be required to decide whether borrowers qualify for a loan modification before continuing to pursue a foreclosure. Should the servicer deny a borrower's application, that servicer is required to tell the borrower, in writing, why the application was denied and that he or she has the right to appeal. "Californians should not have to suffer the abusive tactics of those who would push foreclosure ...
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