Thursday, July 15, 2010

Senate Passes Legislation to Help Homeowners and Veterans

Senator Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) announced the passage of two new pieces of legislation - one aimed at helping veterans who are budding entrepreneurs and another for homeowners struggling due to the recession.

Addabbo, who is a member of the Senate Veterans Committee, said the first legislation will aid veterans who desire to own businesses in their community.

“This new law will increase meaningful participation of veterans in starting and maintaining a business in New York State.” he said. “Due to medical advances and technology, many veterans with injuries have been able to play active roles in their communities.”

Under the legislation, the Division of Veterans Affairs would be required to provide veterans with resources to aid in entrepreneurship in conjunction with the NYS Small Business Development Center.

The second legislation gives homeowners facing foreclosure the right to take action against lenders who fail to “meet the obligation of entering into a good faith agreements during settlement negotiations.”

“No community is immune from being a victim of foreclosures,” Addabbo said. “I am hopeful that this bill will provide the much needed, common sense protection many people seek from unfortunate, and sometimes unintended, financial situations.”

According to a study conducted by the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, of the nearly 800 settlement conferences they studied in 2009 in New York City courts, only three percent resulted in any kind of settlement.

Under the legislation, during a settlement conference, lenders would be required to appear with authority to execute a settlement with the homeowner, negotiate in good faith and meet any deadline for the production of documents or evidence.
The new legislation also outlines penalties for lenders who fail to meet the requirements. After the second time a lender fails, a homeowner automatically makes a motion for an order to dismiss the foreclosure action, unless they waive their right in writing. After the third time, the court grants the defendant’s motion unless the lender can show good cause.

Queens has been hit particularly hard with foreclosures since the recession began. According to the senator’s office, within his district, Woodhaven had one of the highest foreclosure rates.

“Lowering the alarming rate of foreclosures and helping families in Queens to save their homes and even their communities remain priorities for me in order to build the foundation for a lasting, sustainable economic recovery,” said Addabbo.

Legislation regarding veterans has been sent to the Governor for approval and the bill geared towards homeowners has been sent to the Assembly for approval.

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