Utah's legislators have recently passed new legislation to include "Foreclosure Rescue and Loan Modification" amendments. This legislation, in part, is due to the challenges faced by Utah homeowners. In 2009, Utah ranked fifth in the United Staes for filing foreclosure, behind Nevada (10.17%), Arizona (6.12%), Florida (5.93%), California (4.75%), and Utah (2.93%). Under HB0053, several definitions were modified relating to real estate licensing, including prohibited conduct by real estate licensees, definitions related to mortgage officer licensing, and prohibited conduct by a mortgage officer licensee. Definitions that have been expanded under the amendment include the following: "Foreclosure rescue" means, for compensation or with the expectation of receiving valuable consideration, to engage in an act that: (a) the person represents will assist a borrower in preventing a foreclosure; and (b) relates to a transaction involving the transfer of title to residential real property. "Loan modification assistance" means to act or offer to act on behalf of a person (a) obtain a loan term of a residential mortgage loan that is different from an existing (i) an increase or decrease in an interest rate; (ii) a change to the type of interest rate; (iii) an increase or decrease in the principal amount of the residential mortgage loan; (iv) a change in the number of required period payments; (v) an addition of collateral; (vi) a change to, or addition of, a prepayment penalty; (vii) an addition of a cosigner; or (viii) a change in persons obligated under the existing residential mortgage loan; or (b) substitute a new residential mortgage loan for an existing residential mortgage loan." Grounds for disciplinary action have also been expanded: "(a) engaging in a foreclosure rescue if not licensed under this chapter; (b) engaging in an act of loan modification assistance that requires licensure as a mortgage officer under Chapter 2c, Utah Residential Mortgage Practices and Licensing Act, without being licensed under that chapter; (c) requesting or requiring a person to pay a fee before engaging in an act of foreclosure rescue if the person is required to forfeit the fee if the act is unsuccessful; (d) inducing a person who is at risk of foreclosure to hire the licensee to engage in an act of foreclosure rescue by: (i) suggesting to the person that the licensee has a special relationship with the person's lender or loan servicer; or (ii) falsely representing or advertising that the licensee is acting on behalf of: (A) a government agency; (B) the person's lender or loan servicer; or (C) a nonprofit or charitable institution; or (e) recommending or participating in a foreclosure rescue that requires a person to: (i) transfer title to real property to the licensee or to a third party with whom the licensee has a business relationship or financial interest; (ii) make a mortgage payment to a person other than the person's loan servicer; or (iii) refrain from contacting the person's: (A) lender; (B) loan servicer; (C) attorney; (D) credit counselor; or (E) housing counselor; or (24) for an agreement for foreclosure rescue entered into on or after May 11, 2010, engaging in an act of foreclosure rescue without offering in writing to the person entering into the agreement for foreclosure rescue a right to cancel the agreement within three business days after the day on which the person enters the agreement." Having reviewed the amendments, it appears that Utah has made some good headway in helping homeowners have some additional safeguards and protections. There are Utah attorneys that can help Utah home owners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments. This includes helping borrowers get qualified under Making Home Affordable, also known as HAMP, which is a federal loan modification program. There is hope for Utah homeowners through loan modification attorneys. There are Utah lawyers and licensed mortgage companies that are willing and capable of helping out the many struggling home owners. The attorneys at PEARSON & BUTLER would be happy to review your file. Call now for a free consultation.