Challenging foreclosures could become more difficult for homeowners if the president signs a bill that passed through the Senate last week. The little-noticed bill comes at a time when the validity of foreclosure proceedings across the nation have been called into question.
The House passed the bill in April, and its brisk journey through the Senate has drawn scant attention, Reuters reports. If signed into law, it would require courts to accept certain documents that have been notarized out of state, streamlining foreclosure proceedings and stripping homeowners of one legal method of challenging a foreclosure. The legislation would come just as a foreclosure validity crisis is mounting: GMAC, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have admitted to not properly reviewing some of their foreclosure documents.
The foreclosure controversies that have emerged in recent weeks throw doubts on the larger foreclosure system. A non-bank entity, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, has been initiating foreclosures, the Washington Post reports, exercising an authority that judges have ruled it does not have. In response to the mounting scandal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on Tuesday for an investigation into foreclosure fraud. “This is a very big deal,” she told HuffPost.
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner told Reuters the timing of the bill’s passage was “suspicious,” implying that mortgage companies might have engaged in behind-the-scenes lobbying.