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Mar 17, 2015 4:45 PM

Kevin Landrigan: Financially strapped homeowners ask for foreclosure relief


CONCORD - Darlene Atherton, of Northfield, had trouble keeping up on the foreclosure treadmill.

Her husband out of work, she waited five years for disability benefits, and then she got the notice that an auction to sell the house was in the works.

"We were very surprised they just threw this on us," Atherton told NH1 News.

She came to Concord with other people who had similar stories to urge lawmakers to give homeowners more time before foreclosure.

New Hampshire law requires they be given 25 days notice, one of the shortest such windows in the country and less than 37 days required under federal law.

"Having a 60-day notice gives us some extra time to put together the request for mortgage foreclosure package,'' said Mari Voisine, a housing counselor for AHEAD Inc., a Littleton-based housing advocacy group.

But the bankers and mortgage lenders opposed it pointing out the federal Dodd-Frank law prevents them from moving any sooner than 120 days.

"You have to have at least 120 days notice before you can start that foreclosure process,'' said Christiana Thornton, president of the New Hampshire Bankers Association.

Atherton said her family of five would be out on the street but for a powerful politician and New Hampshire Legal Assistance.

"I feel the only reason I have a home today is (Sen.) Jeanne Shaheen's office intervened,'' Atherton said.


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