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Governor signs bill to protect homeowners

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs HB 651 to provide additional protections for those at risk of housing foreclosure. (Photo courtesy of the Governor's Office)


Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed into law a measure that will help homeowners who risk losing their homes.

Senate Bill 651 implements a comprehensive strategy to reform the mortgage foreclosure process to protect homeowners who are in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure.

The primary component established under this measure, the Mortgage Foreclosure Dispute Resolution Program, seeks to provide the owner-occupants of residential property in Hawaii who are facing foreclosure the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the mortgagees to possibly resolve their differences.

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will administer the program, which will begin no later than Oct. 1, 2011 and continue until Sept. 30, 2014.

We’re giving a time out to our consumers so that they can wait for the provisions of this measure to kick in. When it becomes law, they will have the opportunity to convert to a judicial foreclosure or beginning October 1 they can go through the dispute resolution process,” Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Chairwoman Roz Baker told Hawaii Senate Majority. “In addition, no new nonjudicial foreclosures can commence once the bill is signed.”

“This may very well be landmark legislation and something other states can emulate because it is very comprehensive, pro-consumer foreclosure reform,” she added.

“This is a wonderful way legislation should be crafted. It was truly a collaborative effort with House Consumer Protection and Commerce Chair Bob Herkes and his staff, FACE (Faith Action for Community Equity Hawaii), Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the Judiciary, the Senate and other organizations who helped craft this bill.”

This measure brings the number of bills enacted to 49.

Abercrombie also vetoed two measures:

* Senate Bill 1416 would have exempted a new car owner from obtaining an inspection certificate for three years from the date of purchase. Abercrombie believes the bill compromises road safety. New car owners currently have a two year exemption from the requirement for obtaining an inspection certificate.

* House Bill 382 would have granted the State Auditor explicit authority to inspect confidential documents and financial affairs – including private personal information in tax returns – of the Department of Taxation. The bill had a number of legal concerns.

For more information, visit

Abercrombie has until July 12, 2011 to sign into law all measures that are passed out of the Hawaii Senate and the House of Representatives.

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