New Mortgage Collection Dangers
1. Limitation on What a Debt Collector Can Do Regarding Mortgage Debt
As of January 1, 2020, the Rosenthal Act (Fair Debt Collection Act) now defines mortgage debt as consumer credit. In addition, attorneys no longer enjoy an exemption from being defined as a debt collector when it comes to mortgage debt. In California, debt collection activities performed by a debt collector in connection with “consumer debt,” or “consumer credit” are generally subject to the Rosenthal Act.
A full list of what a debt collector is prohibited from doing can be found in Civil Code § 1788 to § 1788.33.
Generally, debt collectors cannot:
1. Communicate with debtors between the hours of 9:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.
2. Contact debtors at their place of employment if the debt collector is informed that such contact is not allowed or the debtor is at work.
3. Threaten violence or other criminal behaviors to harm the debtor’s person, reputation, or property.
4. Use obscene or abusive language.
5. Publish a black list of consumers who allegedly refused to pay debts in a timely fashion.
6. Advertise a debt-for-sale to coerce payment.
7. Repeatedly call a debtor or let the debtor’s phone ring continuously.
8. Make false statements regarding affiliation with the U.S. Government.
9. Make false statements about the nature, character, or amount of the debt.
10. Make false statements about being an attorney or representing an attorney.
11. Threaten to make false credit statements about the debtor.
12. Solicit a post-dated check to use as a threat or to bring criminal charges against the debtor; or
13. Contact the debtor directly if the debt collector knows the debtor is represented by an attorney.
Comment: This law affects not only attorneys, but mortgage brokers, loan servicers, and real estate brokers who seek to collect mortgage debt from California consumers.
About the Author
Scott Souders is a real estate attorney who has practiced real estate law in excess of 42 years in Southern California. The Real Estate Law Update cites cases or statutes which are summarized and should not be relied upon without fully reading the cases or statute in the advance sheets and shepardizing the same and consulting with your own attorney.