Housing Complex

Prepare For Mediation!

Standard foreclosure post graphic!

Well, that was fast. In today's blizzard of Council votes, Councilmember Muriel Bowser shoved through an emergency version of legislation she introduced a couple weeks ago that would require mediation between a lender and the person about to be foreclosed upon, and require the new owner to rent the property back to the old owner if he or she wants to stay. The mayor has ten days to veto it, after which the measure will take effect–though it'll take a little longer for the Department of Insurance, Security, and Banking to write up the regs that will govern who mediates and how. Once that happens, this could be a significant change for homeowners at risk of foreclosure. In certain circumstances, Bowser's bill allows for a Mediation Administrator to impose sanctions on a lender who refuses to cooperate, including loan modification "in the manner determined proper by the court."

It's important, though, not to lose sight of the fact that resources are scarce for counseling that can prevent that foreclosure notice from being sent in the first place. And that should be a priority, because it would be too bad if the system DISB sets up, either because of inadequate funding or incompetent administration, didn't run as smoothly as planned. For example, the three-member Rental Housing Commission has been without a quorum for many months now, creating headaches for tenants and landlords appealing decisions of the Rent Administrator (a position held by three different people in the last year).

So here's hoping the new Mediator isn't the first place a homeowner gets help with her mortgage. What Shaun Donovan said: A lot can be done on the front end to keep people from ending up in foreclosure in the first place.

Photo via flickr user respres.

  • Typical DC BS

    Muriel Bowser and the DC council are morons if they think this measure will help. It will only make it more difficult for lenders to operate in DC, which means it will cost more to get a mortgage for DC residents. If you have fallen behind on making your mortgage payments, all mediation does is stretch out the time period before foreclosure can happen, which adds costs and losses for lenders operating in DC.

    Once again, a solution that won't help the vast majority of DC property owners except to allow them to stay in their homes longer that they've already defaulted on.

  • SuperS

    Thank you so much Councilmember Bowser, the banks were taking peoples houses without recourse and everyone deserves to at least have a say before they take houses that citizens of the District of Colubmia have lived in for years.

  • ward4 gets new council member

    Bowser introduced more Bills yesterday than she has in her entire term as a council member...what a difference an election makes. No Green machine to protect her anymore for being the WORSE ever...So now she wants to try and return phone calls months later have staff be nice and respond to emails...sorry chick TOO LATE.

  • DCitizen

    This woman is absolutely clueless. So, let me see if I understand this. Someone who has defaulted on their mortgages for non-payment is going to suddenly turn around and pay market-rent for their homes. I guess that would make sense, except it doesn't. A person who can't afford their mortgages will not be able to afford market rent (which is some areas are higher than what their mortgages are).

    I see a mass exodus of lenders from the DC market. This woman has single-handedly started the catalyst for a city-wide financial collaspe. Bravo Ms. Bowser. Years of doing absolutely nothing and now the one thing you'll be remembered for is your contribution to the City's financial decline. Fantastic.