In a far-reaching plan that covered everything from foreclosures to new mortgage agreements, President Obama unveiled a “Homeowner Bill of Rights” today that he hopes will speed up the recovery of the housing market and prevent unscrupulous lenders from taking advantage of new home buyers.
Using a community center in Falls Church, Va. as a backdrop, Obama outlined a package of reforms, some of which will need Congressional approval before they take effect. While acknowledging that many lenders and homeowners helped cause the housing bust by entering into mortgages they could not afford, the President pointed out that other homeowners acted responsibly and still find themselves victims of sinking property values.
“It is wrong for anyone to suggest that the only option for struggling responsible homeowners is to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom,” Obama said.
Part of the plan being sent to Congress allows homeowners who made their payments on time but find themselves “underwater” on their mortgages to refinance at what Obama described as “historically low rates.”
The Homeowner Bill of Rights will also simplify the paperwork that surrounds the purchase of a home. In its place will be a straightforward document with no hidden fees, confusing terms, or fine print that disguises conflict of interest or triggers foreclosures.
Obama also made a reference to his administration “working to turn more foreclosed homes into rental housing” to prevent “for sale” signs from bringing down the price of homes in a neighborhood.