October 8, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)—AB 1046, authored by Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) has passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously and is now on the Governor’s desk. If enacted, would protect homeowners from having their home seized by creditors as payment for debt that is unrelated to their mortgage.
“Hard times can fall on anyone and it is important to have basic legal protections for their greatest investment - their life savings,” Anderson said.
The law protects homeowners in two ways. When payment is sought by creditors, a homeowner may either be able to keep his home or keep a portion of the equity in the home, depending on the circumstances. (For details, see the legislative counsel's analysis.)
“Assemblyman Joel Anderson recognizes the current economic climate has had a dramatic impact on his constituents who are watching their home values, retirement accounts and life savings plummet,” a press release from Anderson’s office states. In East San Diego County, which Anderson represents, foreclosures rose 106% in 2008. One community in his district, Campo, held the second highest foreclosure rate in all of San Diego County.
Vino Pajanor has a unique perspective on how our nation’s economic downturn has impacted East County families. At a recent meeting of key housing and real estate stakeholders in Assemblyman Joel Anderson’s El Cajon district office, Pajanor, who is the executive director of the Housing Opportunities Coalition – a nonprofit dedicated to expanding homeownership – said "the current crisis has created a vicious cycle that has affected everyone. At clinics for homeowners, Pajanor reported seeing “Homeowners who were diligent and responsible seeking foreclosure counseling."
Pajanor knows first-hand the relief AB1046 bill will provide for struggling California families, once the bill is signed into law.
“One of our partners is currently working with a homeowner who has fallen on hard times and may lose his home,” said Pajanor. “He is a small business owner, whose wife is disabled, and is now facing bankruptcy. With the AB 1046 homestead exemption, he would be able to preserve all of the home equity he has spent years building. It’s only fair.”
“These are hard times and many hardworking families will be able to protect their life savings because of this bill. Individual responsibility is important and debts should be paid. But if you bought a home and paid for it, it should be protected from seizure,” Anderson said.
Supporters of AB 1046 include unions, trade associations, and both Republican and Democrat legislators. Anderson is asking that supporters of this homeowner protection bill send a letter to his office asking Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign it. Letters can be emailed to Assemblymember.Anderson@assembly.ca.gov or faxed to (916) 319-2177.