One of the new Oregon laws to come out of the short legislative session in February adds a step in the foreclosure process that could help homeowners. The law allows homeowners to request mediation with their bank when foreclosure is imminent. It also requires banks to honor homeowners’ requests for mediation. The first step homeowners must take to kick off the mediation process is to request a meeting with a federally certified housing counselor. The law doesn’t go into effect for a few months, but counselors are already seeing a sharp increase in demand for their services.
Similar laws exist in Washington and other states, but some say they’re not doing much to keep people in their homes. Either troubled homeowners don’t know about the programs or they don’t believe that mediation will motivate banks not to foreclose.
Are you a homeowner? Have you faced foreclosure? Did you seek counseling or mediation? Did it help? Are you a counselor or mediator? What have you seen in your work with homeowners and banks?