Your Rights Regarding Your Home
When an individual purchases a home or rents from a landlord, consumer protection law is in place to ensure that lenders and landlords treat the individual fairly. These laws apply to homeowners with regard to loan modifications and short sales as well. A loan modification is one of several debt relief options available to consumers. Under a loan modification, the terms of the consumer's loan are altered in favor of a more affordable payment. When a homeowner requests a loan modification, consumer protection law states that the lender has 60 days to respond to the request. Lenders are also required to be honest and forthcoming with the consumer about the terms of the new loan.
When a homeowner's loan balance exceeds the fair market value of the home, he or she may pursue a short sale instead of a loan modification. Under a short sale, a lender agrees to release the lien on the property in exchange for an amount that is less than the full balance of the loan. After agreeing to a short sale, a bank must release its lien on the property and cease attempts to collect any remaining debt from the homeowner. Both of these debt relief options exist to help consumers who are unable to make their current mortgage payments. If a lender fails to respond to a loan modification request within 60 days, fails to disclose the terms of a loan modification properly or attempts to collect from the consumer following a short sale, the consumer's rights may have been violated.
Consumer protection law also governs certain interactions between landlords and tenants. Specific landlord/tenant laws vary by state. However, most laws stipulate the landlord must ensure that the property meets minimum quality standards. Landlords must give a minimum amount of notice when tenants are required to move out, and they must provide tenants with ample warning when rent will be increased. Most states also prohibit landlords from evicting tenants for violations not listed in the rental agreement. If a landlord fails to provide a safe environment for renters, raises rent without warning or wrongfully evicts a tenant, the tenant's rights may have been violated. Contact a consumer lawyer if you think your rights have been violated.
Last Modified: Friday, March 22, 2013