By Ramir Hernandez, Esq., Brooks Hubley
On June 12, 2017, Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada signed SB 490, a bill that resurrects the previously scheduled to sunset Nevada foreclosure mediation program. The state’s original foreclosure mediation program was established in 2009 and administered by the Nevada Supreme Court. The new program shifts administration of the program to Home Means Nevada, Inc., the non-profit entity that the state has set up to administer Nevada’s share of the Hardest Hit Fund. Under the new program, borrowers may petition the district court where the home is located so as to opt in to a court administered mediation. The district court will then assign the mediators, and, if necessary, review the findings of the mediators. To fund the program, the legislature has raised the fee for a notice of default from $45 to $95 and has raised the mediation fees from $400 to $500. The latter cost is split between the parties. The authors of the bill anticipate 6,000 foreclosures per year over the next two years. Operationally, mediations will generally work under the same document and attendance requirements under the current program. One exception is that beneficiaries will have to bring to the mediation “any documents created in connection with a loan modification.” Notably, the new program will create a portal, similar to one used by the bankruptcy courts, to schedule mediations and exchange documents.
The new program comes at a time when foreclosures are at the lowest in Las Vegas that they have been in years. On June 12, the Las Vegas Review Journal published an article entitled “Foreclosure rate in Las Vegas drops sharply from 2016”. According to the article, one in every 1,000 homes in the Las Vegas area in May received a foreclosure related filing. This represents a 21.8 drop from May of last year. And Las Vegas is not number one among Metro areas in the nation: Las Vegas is 23rd. While the act becomes effective upon passage, indications are that the program will need a few months to set up the portal, which could cause delays to any new or recent foreclosure filings. We will monitor the new program and provide any updates regarding implementation and compliance requirements.