USHUD.com Reports House Panel Considering Foreclosure Bill

Nov 26, 2013, 09:00 ET from USHUD.com

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A Pennsylvania House Committee is scheduled to vote on a bill that would allow delinquent low-income home owners attempt to workout hardship payment agreements with the local tax bureaus. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Ross, R-158, Unionville, would require a major rewrite of state foreclosure tax laws, some of which date back to the 1920's. "The focus on updating foreclosure laws is part of a comprehensive effort to fight blight," said Mr. Ross, Head of the House Commerce Committee.

With the high unemployment rates in Pennsylvania, home foreclosures are a major concern to residents, especially those in the northeast. Residents in that area saw a 26% increase in the amount of foreclosures during the third quarter compared to the same quarter in 2012.

The mission of the bill is to allow tax claim bureaus to establish policies for hardship payment agreements with tax delinquent low-income home owners, the main goal is to help the home owners pay what they owe and not keep their homes. Mr. Ross added "These payment programs would be designed for home owners who have temporarily fallen behind in tax payments due to a job loss or illness."

USHUD.com CEO, Michael Urbanski addressed the matter "It would be a real benefit to those residents if this bill is passed, so often we have laws in place that are outdated and need to be revisited and amended to make them relevant to the times.  We personally would like to see similar bills put in place across the county, not just in Pennsylvania. The American dream has always been home ownership, and too many Americans had their dream stripped away from them due to the real estate collapse and the layoffs that followed or illness. It would be a real shot in the arm for the entire economy if we could get back to that dream becoming a reality again."

While the bill would require that an applicant be an owner-occupant and have not defaulted on a previous hardship payment agreement. The factors that would be weighed in a decision are household income and expenses, amount of outstanding debt and an explanation of recent special circumstances that affect the owner's ability to pay taxes. The bill would also provide greater tax foreclosure notice requirements to the home owners, occupants and all interested parties.

Urbanski continued "Anything we can do to reduce the number of Americans being displaced from their homes is worth serious consideration and should be explored."

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