PORTLAND - A new law is aimed at Oregon homeowners who default or get behind on their mortgages.
Legislation passed in March and now taking effect aims at giving homeowners quicker answers if they find themselves facing foreclosure or are seeking a loan modification.
Senate Bill 1552's intent is to give voice to the hundreds still faced with losing their homes in Oregon.
The law only affects people who are newly in default as of July 11th. Those already in foreclosure are not eligible for the mediation process.
The new state law eliminates what's called dual-tracking -- the bank continues the foreclosure process while also working on a loan modification.
"People are fighting with banks right now to get loan modifications, desperately trying to save their homes and looking at short sales as a last resort, " said Amy Phillips, principal broker with Phillips Northwest Realty specializing in distressed, foreclosure and short sales.
The law also calls for borrowers behind on payments be notified they are eligible for mediation. It's a face-to-face meeting with a decision maker from the bank.
"The homeowner will know on the day of mediation (if) they are going to have a deal or not," said Richard Mario, a real estate attorney with Buckley Law in Lake Oswego.