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Rhode Island and Connecticut May Soon Be Without Foreclosure Mediation Policies if Legislature Intervention is Unsuccessful

Nicole Wilmet, June 6th, 2018

The future of both Rhode Island and Connecticut’s foreclosure mediation policies are currently in the hands of their respective state legislatures. Both states have sunset provisions looming on the horizon with the Rhode Island Foreclosure Mediation Act set to end on July 1, 2018 and Connecticut’s foreclosure mediation program set to end June 30, 2019.

Enacted in 2013, the Rhode Island’s Foreclosure Mediation Act grants homeowners who face foreclosure the opportunity to meet with their lender and an independent mediator to try to work out a solution to avoid foreclosure. According to the Providence Journal, since 2013 the Foreclosure Mediation Act has helped 679 families stay in their homes. In an effort to keep foreclosure mediation, earlier this year, Sen. Elizabeth Crowley, Sen. Paul Jabour, Sen. Harold Metts, and Sen. Ana Quezada sponsored a Senate’s version of the bill that would extend the sunset provision to July 1, 2023. In the House, Rep. Susan Donovan, Rep. Raymond Johnston, Rep. Mary Messier, and Rep. Michael Morin sponsored the House version of the bill that would repeal the sunset provision entirely. Currently, the Senate voted and passed their version of the bill on May 23, 2018, but the House Judiciary Committee recommended earlier this month that their version of the bill be held for further study.

The Connecticut legislature is also working to extend the life of their state’s foreclosure mediation program. The Connecticut foreclosure mediation program began in 2008. As this article from the Hartford Courant highlights, between the program’s inception on July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2017, the program has heard 27,958 cases. Of these cases 70% resulted in borrowers staying in their homes, 16% reached agreements for a short sale or other measure, and only 14% did not settle. Like the bills in Rhode Island, there are two versions of an act that would either extend or eliminate the sunset provision making their way through the Connecticut legislature. Both versions of the bill are sponsored by the House of Representatives Banking Committee with the most notable difference between the two bills being the treatment of the sunset provision. The House version of the bill the bill would eradicate the sunset provision for the program entirely whereas the Senate version would extend the sunset provision to December 31, 2019.  Given that the sunset provision doesn’t expire until 2019, the Connecticut legislature has more time to save their foreclosure mediation program than Rhode Island.

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