LET THE RACES BEGIN
The Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program has received its first three requests for mediation as the homeowners work to save their houses.
Two requests came from Clark County residents and the third came from a Carson City homeowner. Mediations have not yet been scheduled, but will be within 80 days of the filing of the foreclosure notice under Nevada law and Supreme Court rules.
The first mediations are expected to occur in August.
In the first three weeks of the Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program, which began on July 1 under Assembly Bill 149, more than 2,400 foreclosure notices have been filed in Nevada. More than 2,000 of those originated in Clark County. Those default notices include commercial and non-owner-occupied properties as well as the owner-occupied homes eligible for the mediation program.
The initial mediations will be conducted by Senior District Judges or Supreme Court Settlement Judges in addition to experienced mediators and some attorneys. These will participate in the program’s initial training sessions on Aug. 5 in Reno and Aug. 6-7 in Las Vegas. The media is invited to attend the training.
More than 400 attorneys have offered to become mediators, but are not yet trained.
Under AB-149, the Nevada Supreme Court was responsible for adopting the rules for the program, which is being operated by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The Administrative Office of the Courts has been in the process of hiring staff, finding facilities, obtaining furniture, and establishing the training programs.
Former casino executive Verise Campbell has been hired as the Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program Administrator to oversee the legislatively-created project. Veteran mediator Kathryn Ely has been hired as Mediation Supervisor to help coordinate the selection and training of the numerous mediators expected to be needed.
For the past few months, Nevada has been averaging about 7,600 foreclosures a month.
“Many Nevadans are losing their homes to foreclosure,” said Chief Justice James W. Hardesty. “I believe that through this new law and our mediations, we are going to save some homes and, at the same time, help ease the burden for some lenders.”
Under the Supreme Court Rules, the homeowner must submit copies of financial records and indicate the amount of a mortgage payment that could be made if a loan modification could be reached. Lenders must submit documents indicating current appraisals of a home’s value and estimates of what it could sell for in a so-called short sale. Lenders must have someone at the mediation or available with the authority to modify a loan and provide the original or certified copies of the mortgage note, deed of trust, and any assignments of the mortgage note or deed of trust.
The rules require that the parties to mediate in “good faith.”
While the program will offer homeowners the opportunity to sit down with their lenders, mediation will not be the solution for everyone and some homes inevitably will be lost to foreclosure.
AB-149 only affects single-family, owner-occupied housing in Nevada and currently applies only to foreclosure notices (formally known as Notice of Default and Election to Sell) filed on or after July 1, 2009.
A request form and easy to understand instructions will accompany the foreclosure notices when they are served. That form, along with other forms and information, is available on the Supreme Court website.
The foreclosure mediation program is self funded through fees and will not require the expenditure of any taxpayer dollars. Lenders pay an increased fee for filing a foreclosure notice, which is used to fund administrative costs of the program. Homeowners and lenders will share the $400 costs for the mediators, with each party paying $200 prior to the mediation.