A so-called Homeowner Bill of Rights has been introduced to the California State Assembly in the form of seven bills centered primarily on the impacts of foreclosure.   California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris's office said that the proposed legislation seeks to protect homeowners from unfair banking practices related to foreclosures and provide remedies for communities threatened by blight from foreclosed properties.

Two of the bills would provide local communities with the ability to bring increased penalties against the owners of blighted properties, even taking control of the properties if necessary.  Another bill would provide tenants the same protections against evictions hat they currently have under federal law.  Purchasers of foreclosed properties would have to honor the terms of existing leases and allow tenants at least 90 days before commencing eviction proceedings. 

There are two bills which would provide additional tools for the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute mortgage frauds and crimes.  One extends the statute of limitations on mortgage related crimes and provides funding to investigate such crimes through a $25 fee to be levied on servicers when they record a notice of default.  The final two bills in the clutch of legislation would allow the Attorney General to convene a special grand jury to investigate and indict the perpetrators of financial crimes when the victims are in multiple jurisdictions.

All seven of the bills have passed out of the appropriate legislative review committees and are heading toward a vote of the whole assembly.