LAS VEGAS -- State lawmakers called Thursday "underwater mortgage" day at the state capitol as they dealt with bills to boost homeowner foreclosure protection.
The first bill gaining attention adds some teeth to the requirement that banks need to prove they possess a home's title documents.
Senate Bill 389 allows homeowners to take banks to court if they can't produce the title papers. A judge could then tell the bank representatives they have no right to continue with foreclosure. It's hoped that would compel banks to refinance the home loan.
A local attorney wrote the bill saying she has too many friends and clients in legal limbo.
"They're stuck in their homes. They may be underwater and not able to move or work out a deal with the presumptive owner of the Deed of Trust or the note, so they cant leave. They can't move. Someone who wants to buy that property might be unable to," said Lori Jordan, the bill's author.
Another bill, Senate Bill 160 is also getting attention. It limits banks suing homeowners over lost home value. If a bank sells a home at auction for less than the original homeowner's mortgage, they can come after that homeowner in certain circumstances and sue for the difference.
The law already prevents banks from suing on mortgages newer than 2009. The bill would limit banks suing homeowners no matter how old their mortgage is. Banks told state lawmakers they oppose the bill, saying it "violates the sanctity of the home loan contract."
It's called the Homeowners Bill of Rights. It extends foreclosure protections already enjoyed by customers of the five largest banks to all Nevada homeowners.