Of All The Brand New Mortgage Rules, This One Is Our favourite

foreclosure protest

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Of all the shady practices employed by mortgage lenders, few are as cruel to underwater homeowners as dual tracking.In a nutshell, it’s what happens when one arm of a lender works with a borrower to modify their mortgage, while a completely different arm pushes through paperwork to have them foreclosed simultaneously.

Imagine getting kicked out of your house one day, then getting a letter in the mail congratulating you on your shiny new mortgage rate a month later. 

It’s no fun, and finally, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is making good on its promise to keep it from happening again.

The agency rolled out a host of new rules Thursday that will change the way lenders deal with borrowers.

Here’s our favourite: 

Restricted Dual-Tracking: Servicers must not make the first notice or filing required for the foreclosure process until a mortgage loan account is more than 120 days delinquent. This will give borrowers reasonable time to submit modification applications. Servicers must not start a foreclosure proceeding if an application is pending for a loan modification or other alternative to foreclosure.

For borrowers like Minnesota resident Carrie Haskamp, the change is too little too late, but it will undoubtedly make a difference for struggling homeowners down the line.

You can read a full list of the new mortgage servicing rules here.

Here are the Cliff’s Notes: 

-When borrowers miss two payments, lenders must inform them of what actions they can take to get back on track.
-Lenders have to make sure borrowers have direct and easy access to the humans handling their paperwork.
-Lenders can’t foreclose on homeowners willy nilly. They have to consider all foreclosure alternatives first.
-Lenders have to reply to mortgage modification applications at least 37 days before they plan on selling the home at auction.
-Clear mortgage statements
-Fair warning before lenders mess with interest rates for adjustable-rate mortgages 
-Notify homeowners before they force them to purchase costly property insurance  
-Lenders must credit mortgage payments the same day they’re paid
-Lenders must correct any account errors within 30 days, or at least investigate.

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