Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Illinois Governor Extends Foreclosure Grace Period

Late in June, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill to extend the state law that provides a grace period of up to 90 days for homeowners who face foreclosure, according to a report in DS News.  The Illinois Homeowner Protection Act was originally adopted in 2009.  The Illinois Government News Network also ran a news story about the bill, emphasizing that the Illinois Homeowner Protection Act Extension will help Illinois families to stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure.
Although the market seems to be recovering in many respects, homeowners across the country are still at risk of foreclosure.  If you have questions about how the new bill can help you, contact an experienced foreclosure defense attorney today.
Details of the Extension Bill
The extension of the Illinois Homeowner Protection Act will now help keep families in their homes through 2016.  Originally, the Act only ran through 2013.  It ensures that homeowners have up to 90 days before foreclosure, a time intended to help them get back on track and stay in their houses.  How does the 90-day grace period work?  When homeowners are at least 30 days past due on their mortgages, the lenders are required to notify the homeowners that they have 30 days “to seek housing counseling.”  Then, if they do seek housing counseling, those homeowners have an additional 30 days “to work out a payment plan or refinance their loan.”  All in all, they have an extra 90 days to take control of their finances.
Up until now, DS News reported that the Homeowner Protection Act has already aided more than 40,000 families in the state of Illinois.  And according to Governor Quinn, the extension “will ensure that it helps many more for years to come.”
House Bill 99, which extended the Homeowner Protection Act, now provides an additional three years of homeowner assistance, as we mentioned above.  It was sponsored by two Illinois Democrats, Representative Mike Zalewski and Senator Jacqueline Collins.  The Illinois Government News Network reported that the bill unanimously passed the Illinois General Assembly, and it takes immediate effect.
According to Zalewski, he sponsored the bill because “too many families continue to face foreclosure because they did not know where to turn for help when paying their mortgage bills first became a struggle.”  And the Homeowner Protection Act can step in to help those families.  Zalewski went on to explain that, “by extending the Homeowner Protection Act, we are now giving families a much-needed opportunity to deal with their financial situation before they are at risk of losing their homes.”
Senator Collins echoed many of Represenative Zalewski’s sentiments, noting that “foreclosure counseling is a proven tool in the effort to stabilize neighborhoods and give homeowners a chance to make it through tough times.”  She went on to explain that housing counselors can provide individual assistance with homeowners’ finances, and they can also show them how to “take control of their spending, negotiate with their lenders and ultimately start making manageable payments” so they can keep their homes.
What Else is Illinois Doing for Struggling Homeowners?
In addition to the recent extension of the Homeowner Protection Act, Governor Quinn also launched the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network, which the Illinois Government News Network describes as a “a one-stop comprehensive, free resource to connect struggling homeowners with assistance to keep them in their homes and help them from being victims of mortgage fraud.”
In 2011, Governor Quinn also launched the Hardest Hit Program, which “provides monthly mortgage payment assistance and reinstatement assistance to households that are struggling with income loss due to unemployment or underemployment.”  In fact, more than $200 million has been committed to help homeowners in our state to date.
If you’re at risk of losing your home to foreclosure, speak to a foreclosure defense attorney.  We can discuss your options and provide you with the information you need to stay in your home.  Contact us today.
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