By JR Holguin
One key component of the American dream is home ownership. But for many, that dream is becoming a nightmare. The homeowner is now living in fear of foreclosure.
In an interview with the People, Power & Politics Radio Show, Senator James Sanders Jr, NY Senate District 10, spoke to us about the Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act. A bill sponsored by Senator Sanders helps homeowners in New York save their homes from foreclosure by eliminating specific mistreatment measures lenders have used in courts.
Listen to an interview with Senator James Sanders Jr, NY Senate District 10 on the Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act below:
“The American dream is anchored on the idea of freedom of choice and [buying] a home,” said Sanders. “To buy a home is the pinnacle, the top of the American dream; you have arrived with that!”
“The issue of foreclosure is when a bank or a financial institution tries to get or take back a home based on what they say or failure to abide by the terms of the mortgage,” said Sanders. “Now, with that in mind, [the] system for many years [was] that the banks have had six years to convince courts on this.”
But a February 2021 decision from the New York Court of Appeals, Freedom Mortgage Corporation v. Engel, removed the statute of limitation and reopened hundreds of foreclosure cases homeowners thought they had won because lenders missed a critical deadline.
“Now, the only other part of the law with no statute of limitation is murder,” said Sanders. “[Mortgage Corporation v. Engel] inadvertently puts foreclosure at the same weight as it does murder. And any rational person would say that foreclosed even at his worst is nowhere near the situation in murder.”
The Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act would revert to the six-year window to prove their case; otherwise, the case is dismissed. The bill would provide clarification to correct recent judicial decisions. These decisions have undermined longstanding legal precedents to excuse financial institutions from the effects of longstanding statutes of limitations principles.
In a video posted on Senator James Sanders’ YouTube channel, Governor Kathy Hochul’s constituents and New York City homeowners ask her to approve and pass the bill.
Despite the circumstances, homeowners calmly tell their stories, explaining how they have been dealing with foreclosure for years. “I commenced by sending a payment to them, however late. Those payments were returned. I was subsequently served with a summons on complaint pasted onto my door,” says an NYC resident fighting from foreclosure. “That’s an action that was first filed in 2010 and was discontinued in 2013. we’re now talking about 12 years of painful litigation.”
Brian Figeroux, Esq. of the Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates reminds homeowners of New York, “An attorney that you hire, you retain, is an attorney obligated by the law to serve your best interests. And if that attorney is not serving your best interest, you have the grievance committee and other forms of restitution.”
“If you have been delinquent for years on your mortgage and have a Supreme Court action, you should not be representing yourself in court. If you are negotiating a loan modification, you should not be doing it alone,” said Figeroux.
The “Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act” passed the Senate on May 3, 2022, by a vote of 52-10. On March 23, 2022, the Assembly version of this bill introduced by Assemblymember Helene Weinstein passed the Assembly by a vote of 107-40. The next step is for the bill to be signed by Governor Kathy Hochul.
One by one, homeowners struggling with foreclosure ask Gov Hochul to please sign this bill into law. They do not ask for any handout or relief; they only ask for a level playing field to be able to fight for their homes. Now it sits on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk, but supporters of the bill say they don’t believe she is on board. Her office said she is still reviewing the legislation. One could ask why Gov Hochul has ignored her constituents if it is them who decide who wins campaigns, not the banks.