For anyone facing the distressing reality of a mortgage foreclosure in the State of Hawai’i, a sliver of hope emerged at the State Capitol earlier this month, when Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a new law that could make it increasingly harder for lenders to confiscate residents’ homes.
On Thursday, May 5, Gov. Abercrombie signed into law Senate Bill 651, a 101-page piece of legislation designed to assist struggling homeowners across the state. According to a statement issued by the Office of the Governor last week, the law, now known as Act 48, implements “a comprehensive strategy to reform the mortgage foreclosure process [and] to protect homeowners who are in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure.”
At the heart of Act 48 is an effort to mitigate the foreclosure process through dispute resolution. Its key provision, the Mortgage Foreclosure Dispute Resolution Program, will assist owner-occupants of residential properties in Hawai’i facing non-judicial foreclosure (non-judicial foreclosures occur when a lender pursues such action outside of court, which is the case for most foreclosures in the State of Hawai’i). With the new program, homeowners facing foreclosure will be afforded a rather unique opportunity: a chance to sit down with their mortgagees, or lenders, in person–a face-to-face meeting that could possibly lead to a resolution.
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