State house democrats unveil foreclosure relief plan

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PHOENIX - The following is a press release from the Arizona Legislature:

House Democrats, joined by Attorney General Terry Goddard, a leader in foreclosure prevention and prosecution of mortgage fraud in Arizona, released on Thursday their plan for Foreclosure Relief for a Stronger Arizona, a series of bills that would keep people who are playing by the rules in their homes.

"Foreclosure Relief for a Stronger Arizona will bring much-needed relief for families, homeowners, renters and the state as we work hard to make sure we protect children and middle-class families, the backbone of our state's economy," Rep. David Lujan said.

Foreclosure Relief for a Stronger Arizona keeps our state's economic engine, middle-class families, running by:

- Granting a 60-day relief period to homeowners who are in foreclosure and in danger of losing their home

- Protecting homeowners who are facing foreclosure from scams and fraud

- Requiring a landlord to allow a tenant at least 30 days to vacate a foreclosed property

- Requiring "equity purchasers" or "foreclosure consultants" to be licensed

- Encouraging parties involved in foreclosure proceedings to restructure loans in order to prevent foreclosure and delaying a sale for up to one year if the lender fails to negotiate in good faith with the borrower

- Encouraging U.S. Congress to consider and enact legislation enhancing the ability of self-employed individuals to refinance their loans and consider developing alternative lending standards for small businesses

"Yesterday, President Obama set out a bold plan to restore stability to the housing market and provide relief to families and lenders who play by the rules," said Attorney General Terry Goddard. "This could not happen at a more critical time for our state. But federal action alone is not enough. We must enact legislation here at home that strengthens our housing market and the financial well-being of our communities. Those steps include ensuring that the Housing Trust Fund is funded for the next fiscal year."

Last year, a record 40,000 Valley homes were foreclosed upon. Now 150,000 of our state's homeowners are in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure. This amounts to Arizona taking top in the ranks of the highest foreclosure rate in the country.

"The tidal wave of foreclosures that has swept Arizona is the source of great economic turmoil for families and businesses across the state," Goddard said. "Every one of us has a financial interest in restoring property values, repairing neighborhoods and putting our economy back on track. Protecting the safety and financial health of hard-working Arizonans is my top priority, and I appreciate the legislative leaders here today who share in this commitment."

House Democrats recognize the difficult times middle-class families and children face, especially after being hit with the recent deep budget cuts.

"It's time to do something about this foreclosure crisis so we can get our state's economy back on track and move Arizona forward to a brighter future," said Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson.