Monday the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 2393, the Foreclosure Relief and Extension for Servicemembers Act of 2015, to extend foreclosure protection for military homeowners from 90 days to a one year period until January 1, 2018.
Rep. Stephen Fincher (TN-08), Rep. Steve Stivers (OH-15), and Heck filed a House companion to S. 2393 (H.R. 4252) on December 16, 2015, and applauded the passage before April 1, when servicemembers would have been first affected by the time crunch.
“Readjusting to civilian life from active duty can be difficult for many of our vets,” Congressman Fincher said. “It is tremendously important to allow our veterans more time to readjust to life at home and get on their feet financially. It’s the least we can do for those who willingly risk their lives every day to protect the freedoms we hold dear.”
“When our service members come home they shouldn’t have to fear losing their homes as they transition back to civilian life,” Congressman Stivers said. “The foreclosure protection extension will give them the time they need to get back on their feet financially and begin their new lives post military service.”
“A bigger time cushion helps our servicemembers as they transition to civilian life,” Congressman Heck said. “The least we can do for our veterans is make sure they have the time to find a new job, adjust to their new life, and organize their financial obligations so that they and their families can stay in their homes and plan for their future.”
In 2012, Congress temporarily extended the foreclosure protection to one year. The temporary revised timeframe was examined in a U.S. Government Accountability Office study to ensure its effectiveness. In “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act: Information on Mortgage Protections and Related Education Efforts,” GAO found the revised timeframe successfully protected veterans from losing their homes and didn’t cause any unintended consequences for veterans or lenders.
In 2014, Congress again extended the foreclosure protection to one year through December 31, 2015.
The Foreclosure Relief and Extension for Servicemembers Act of 2015 is endorsed by veterans services organizations, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Military Officers Association of America. S. 2393 is also endorsed by financial services and housing provider organizations, including American Bankers Association, Association of Military Banks of America, Consumer Bankers Association, Consumer Mortgage Coalition, Housing Policy Council of the Financial Services Roundtable, Independent Community Bankers of America, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of REALTORS®.
In a letter to House and committee leadership, the nine mortgage and housing trade associations urged the House of Representatives to act to extend the foreclosure protection, saying “some service members, particularly those leaving active-duty and re-acclimating to civilian life, continue to face real financial challenges…Additionally, slow recoveries in real-estate markets in some areas of the country, particularly in areas surrounding military bases, continue and make it difficult for military members to sell their homes or purchase new homes upon receiving new orders resulting from a Permanent Change of Station (PCS).”
More information on the financial protections for military members is available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs.