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A08591 Summary:

SPONSORBichotte Hermelyn
Add §1308-a, amd §1303, RPAP L; amd Art 18-B Art Head, §722, County L
Provides for free legal representation in certain mortgage foreclosure actions where the homeowner is financially unable to obtain counsel; requires notice of such availability.
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A08591 Actions:

01/12/2024referred to judiciary
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A08591 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Bichotte Hermelyn
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the real property actions and proceedings law and the county law, in relation to representation of certain persons in private residential foreclosure actions   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This amendment would provide a home owner in a foreclosure preceding who is financially unable to obtain counsel with the right to assigned coun- sel by the court.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1304 of the real property law is amended to assign counsel to homeowners in a foreclosure proceeding who are financially unable to obtain counsel.   DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION (IF APPLICABLE): Click here to enter text.   JUSTIFICATION: Present law provides a right to court-appointed counsel in limited civil litigation matters, including certain family or surrogate court cases. However, no such right exists when a New York State resident is threat- ened with the loss of his or her home. The overwhelming majority of homeowners in foreclosure proceeding have no legal representation. As the subprime lending crisis sweeps across New York State, it is esti- mated that tens of thousands of state residents may face foreclosure in the near future. This bill will confront this crisis and prevent dramat- ic declines in home ownership by providing-a right to legal represen- tation for those who cannot afford it.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: N/A   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law
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A08591 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 12, 2024
        Introduced  by  M.  of A. BICHOTTE HERMELYN -- read once and referred to
          the Committee on Judiciary
        AN ACT to amend the real property actions and proceedings  law  and  the
          county  law,  in  relation  to  representation  of  certain persons in
          private residential foreclosure actions
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The real property actions and proceedings law is amended by
     2  adding a new section 1308-a to read as follows:
     3    §  1308-a.  Assignment of counsel. A homeowner in a foreclosure action
     4  who is financially unable to obtain counsel for representation  in  such
     5  action  shall have a right to assigned counsel by the court.  Assignment
     6  of counsel issued under this section shall be implemented as provided in
     7  article eighteen-B of the county law.
     8    § 2. Subdivision 3 of section 1303 of the real  property  actions  and
     9  proceedings  law, as amended by section 5 of part Q of chapter 73 of the
    10  laws of 2016, is amended to read as follows:
    11    3. The notice to any mortgagor required by paragraph (a)  of  subdivi-
    12  sion one of this section shall appear as follows:
    13                     Help for Homeowners in Foreclosure
    14    New  York  State  Law  requires that we send you this notice about the
    15  foreclosure process. Please read it carefully.
    16  Summons and Complaint
    17    You are in danger of losing your home. If you fail to respond  to  the
    18  summons  and  complaint  in  this  foreclosure action, you may lose your
    19  home. Please read the summons and complaint carefully. You should  imme-
    20  diately  contact  an  attorney  or your local legal aid office to obtain
    21  advice on how to protect yourself.
    22  Sources of Information and Assistance
    23    The State encourages you to become  informed  about  your  options  in
    24  foreclosure. In addition to seeking assistance from an attorney or legal
    25  aid  office,  there are government agencies and non-profit organizations
    26  that you may contact for information about possible  options,  including
    27  trying to work with your lender during this process. You may be entitled
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 8591                             2
     1  to  assigned  counsel  if you are financially unable to obtain represen-
     2  tation.
     3    To  locate  an  entity  near  you, you may call the toll-free helpline
     4  maintained by the New York State Department  of  Financial  Services  at
     5  (enter number) or visit the Department's website at (enter web address).
     6    Rights and Obligations
     8  to  stay  in  your  home  during  the  foreclosure  process. You are not
     9  required to leave your home unless and until your property  is  sold  at
    10  auction pursuant to a judgment of foreclosure and sale.
    11  Regardless  of  whether  you  choose  to  remain  in  your home, YOU ARE
    12  REQUIRED TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR PROPERTY and pay property taxes in accord-
    13  ance with state and local law.
    14  Foreclosure rescue scams
    15    Be careful of people who approach you with offers to "save" your home.
    16  There are individuals who watch for notices of  foreclosure  actions  in
    17  order  to  unfairly  profit  from  a homeowner's distress. You should be
    18  extremely careful about any such promises and any suggestions  that  you
    19  pay  them a fee or sign over your deed. State law requires anyone offer-
    20  ing such services for profit  to  enter  into  a  contract  which  fully
    21  describes  the services they will perform and fees they will charge, and
    22  which prohibits them from taking any money  from  you  until  they  have
    23  completed all such promised services.
    24    § 3. The article heading of article 18-B of the county law, as amended
    25  by chapter 682 of the laws of 1977, is amended to read as follows:
    28                                   ACTIONS
    29    §  4.  The  opening  paragraph  of  section  722 of the county law, as
    30  amended by chapter 7 of the laws of 2007, is amended to read as follows:
    31    The governing body of each county and the governing body of  the  city
    32  in  which a county is wholly contained shall place in operation through-
    33  out the county a plan for providing counsel to persons  charged  with  a
    34  crime  or  who  are  entitled to counsel pursuant to section two hundred
    35  sixty-two or section eleven hundred twenty  of  the  family  court  act,
    36  article  six-C  of the correction law, section four hundred seven of the
    37  surrogate's court procedure act [or], article ten of the mental  hygiene
    38  law or section thirteen hundred eight-a of the real property actions and
    39  proceedings law, who are financially unable to obtain counsel. Each plan
    40  shall  also  provide for investigative, expert and other services neces-
    41  sary for an adequate defense. The plan  shall  conform  to  one  of  the
    42  following:
    43    §  5. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed-
    44  ing the date on which it shall have become a law.
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