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Bill to help homeowners facing foreclosure passes House of Delegates

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The House of Delegates voted 60-40 Friday to pass HB 2175, the Preserving the American Dream Act introduced by House Appropriations Chair Luke Torian.

The legislation would build on Chair Torian’s 2020 Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act and lay the groundwork for a comprehensive Housing Bill of Rights to address disparities in homeownership.

“Fostering housing stability is more important now than ever. Financial security and our children’s educational success begin with a safe roof overhead. Still, too many Virginians are currently at risk of losing the home they already own,” Torian said. “Homeownership is central to building wealth, yet barriers to homeownership access and retention are major contributors to the racial wealth gap.

“Virginia needs a housing bill of rights so that every Virginian has the opportunity to achieve financial security and build wealth through homeownership. Housing advocates and industry stakeholders were able to come together with the shared goal of helping more Virginians keep their homes. I’m glad to see this legislation move forward.”

State Sen. Jennifer McClellan introduced the companion legislation, SB 1327, which passed the state Senate unanimously on Feb. 2.

“During this economic crisis, we must do everything we can to prevent Virginians from losing their homes,” McClellan said. “This legislation will make necessary changes to Virginia’s laws to provide homeowners with more time and resources to prevent foreclosure. I’m pleased to see this critical foreclosure relief bill pass the Senate and the House, and I look forward to working with Del. Torian to make it law.”

HB 2175 makes changes to Virginia’s foreclosure law to give homeowners the opportunity to bring their mortgages current and protect their homes. It requires a mortgage company to give a 60-day notice period to a homeowner of a pending foreclosure auction sale; current law requires a 14-day notice period.

The bill also requires notice to include information for the homeowner on available legal assistance and makes it less likely that a creditor will force the sale of a lower-income person’s home to satisfy other debt.

HB2175 also builds on Torian’s 2020 Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act to provide manufactured home lot tenants a statement of their rights and responsibilities and require localities’ comprehensive plans to include strategies to preserve and maintain manufactured home communities, the least-cost entry into homeownership in Virginia.

“This legislation will result in many Virginians getting the help they need to prevent foreclosure and preserve their American Dream of homeownership,” said Jay Speer, executive director of the Virginia Poverty Law Center. “We view this as an important first step in our work to help close the racial wealth gap that currently exists in homeownership. We are grateful to Del. Torian, Sen. McClellan, and all the stakeholders who worked hard to get this legislation right.”

augusta free press
augusta free press