San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passes foreclosure moratorium resolution

Resolution supports California Homeowner Bill of Rights and principal reductions

by Raquel Redondiez

San Francisco – Supervisor John Avalos’ resolution calling for a suspension of foreclosure activities in the City and County of San Francisco passed in an 11-0 vote at the Board of Supervisors. This resolution signals the City’s resolve to protect homeowners from unfair and unlawful actions by banks, trustees and mortgage companies until protections at the state and federal level are in place.

“The foreclosure crisis has already devastated so many lives. This resolution is an important step to support solutions to prevent millions of Americans from losing their homes. And, while we are eager to see state and federal reforms enacted to provide much needed reprieve, we must do what we can TODAY to stop preventable foreclosures,” said Supervisor Avalos, who represents District 11, one of San Francisco’s areas hardest hit by foreclosures.

“Every day, families, seniors and children wake up with the fear of losing their homes through foreclosures. I look forward to working with Mayor Ed Lee to use the full weight of the City in urging banks, especially our City banking partners, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Union Bank, to stop foreclosure activities until currently proposed state and federal measures to protect homeowner and tenant rights are in full effect,” added Avalos.

In a recent decision by the Louisiana Bankruptcy Court, Judge Elizabeth Magner chastised Wells Fargo by ordering the bank to pay a New Orleans man $3.1 million in punitive damages after five years of litigation over allegations of mortgage-servicing misconduct. As she explained in her decision, “Wells Fargo has taken advantage of borrowers who rely on it to accurately apply payments and calculate the amounts owed. But perhaps more disturbing is Wells Fargo’s refusal to voluntarily correct its errors.

The resolution expresses support for the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which are five legislative measures introduced at the California Legislature designed to provide basic standards of fairness and transparency in mortgage processing, community tools to prevent blight, tenant protections, enhanced law enforcement to defend homeowner rights and a special grand jury to investigate foreclosure crime. The resolution also supports Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’ call for a suspension of foreclosures on loans controlled by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and a broad demand for the Federal Housing Finance Agency to provide principal reductions to keep families in their homes.

In addition, Avalos’ measure urges the mayor to direct the City’s lobbyist in Sacramento to advocate for the passage of these measures, urges all city and county officials and departments to work proactively to ensure that San Francisco residents do not fall victim to unlawful foreclosure practices.

Raquel Redondiez can be reached at amihan33@gmail.com.