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When your name is not on the mortgage note, negotiation can fail

Florida homeowners who are struggling financially often try to get ahead of a potential foreclosure by trying to renegotiate the terms of their mortgage. But lenders are not always receptive, especially if the homeowner is seeking a lower interest rate.

In some cases, technical complications can make the process even tougher, such as when the mortgage note on the family home is in one spouse’s name only. If that spouse dies first, the surviving spouse may struggle to avoid foreclosure.

In California, lawmakers are considering changing the law to help widows and widowers keep their homes. A bill scheduled to go before that state’s Senate would expand much of the 2013 California Homeowner Bill of Rights to include surviving spouses.

For example, lenders would not be able to negotiate a loan modification while simultaneously pursuing foreclosure on the homeowner. Surviving spouses and their children would also get the right to sue to prevent foreclosure, or to at least limit the economic damages the lender can pursue if there is a foreclosure.

The bill has passed the Judiciary Committee and is awaiting debate in the full state Senate.

The Los Angeles Times notes that the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expected to release new regulations later this year to boost survivors’ loan modification rights. So Florida homeowners may soon have rights similar to those found in the California bill.

If preventative measures fail, you may need a foreclosure defense attorney to protect your rights, devise a strategy and possibly keep your home.

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