Latest & Greatest – Mortgage Servicing and Loan Modifications and Home Foreclosures

By John Rao, et al.  Published by National Consumer Law Center  KF 697 .R3 M63 2019

By John Rao, et al.

Published by National Consumer Law Center

KF 697 .R3 M63 2019

National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) publishes a series of legal treatises designed to address and explain consumer law issues. Their target audience are those who have limited income and limited access to justice. The treatises cover areas of consumer concerns, such as debtor rights, mortgages and foreclosures, credit and banking, deception and warranties, and consumer litigation.  As part of its consumer credit and sales legal practice series, NCLC has published Mortgage Servicing and Loan Modifications. Originally part of NCLC’s Foreclosures and Mortgage Servicing*, this book has expanded coverage of the business of mortgage servicing as well as mortgage loss mitigation alternatives for borrowers who are having difficulty making their payments. The treatise begins with an introduction to the mortgage market and the entities involved in the mortgage process, including mortgage servicers, before moving on to a discussion of common mortgage servicing problems and servicing requirements and claims under federal and state law. The next section of the treatise focuses upon loss mitigation and loan modifications. In this section, the reader will find a discussion of loss mitigation options for various types of loans and the result of failing to handle such loss mitigation properly. Lastly, the authors address considerations attendant to litigating mortgage servicing claims. 

By Geoff Walsh et al.  Published by National Consumer Law Center  KF 697 .R3 F6 2019

By Geoff Walsh et al.

Published by National Consumer Law Center

KF 697 .R3 F6 2019

Another new treatise from NCLC is Home Foreclosures, and it features a lot of the same material originally found in Foreclosures and Mortgage Servicing but with more in-depth discussion. From analyzing and defending a foreclosure case to handling issues arising from a foreclosure sale, the authors provide readers with practical information regarding this challenging and stressful process. The authors address the foreclosure of traditional homes as well as manufactured homes and condominiums as well as foreclosures involving Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, government-insured loans and mortgages, and reverse mortgages. Foreclosures comprise an area that is a target for deceptive practices, and in this regard, the authors include an explanation of foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams, steps to fight these scams, and legal theories that can be used to attack such scams. In the appendices, you can find pertinent state and federal statutes.

Visit the Law Library to have a look at these and other volumes in our NCLC collection. These resources can also be accessed via the NCLC databases available on our Law Library research computers.

*Note that Mortgage Servicing and Loan Modifications and Home Foreclosures supersede and replace the prior Foreclosures and Mortgage Servicing.

An Introduction to Poké-Law

A Goldeen splashing around outside the Harris County Law Library

Anyone who’s not living under a rock (or Rock-type Pokémon, if that be the case) has heard plenty in the last few days about Pokémon Go, the augmented reality game breaking download records and causing the worst outbreak of Pokémon fever since the late ‘90s. As a response to the millions of players trying to become Pokémon masters, the Harris County Law Library would like to spotlight a few of the potential legal issues raised by the app:

“I was trying to catch an Eevee” is not a legal defense

If you’re trying to be the very best, “like no one ever was,” make sure you respect property rights. Criminal trespass in Texas occurs when a person enters or remains in or on the property of another, without effective consent and the person (1) had notice the entry was forbidden and (2) received notice to depart but failed to do so. Tex. Penal Code § 30.05 (West 2015). The offense is a misdemeanor. Texas also recognizes civil causes of action for trespass where an unauthorized entry to property results in injury to the property owner’s possessory interests. In cases where the entry was inadvertent, the defendant may still be liable if they failed to exercise a duty of reasonable care (e.g., accidentally driving your car off the road into someone’s yard because you spotted a Pikachu). So heed the warnings of police and don’t look for Pokémon in any place where you don’t have permission to be.

(On this note: While the law library is open to the public for legal research, please don’t use the library for any other purpose. Your local Harris County Public Library branch is a much better Pokémon hunting ground.)

Know Your Rights as a Pokémon Trainer

Like any other app on your phone, players trying to catch ‘em all are subject to the software manufacturer’s Terms of Service. Unfortunately, like most other TOSs, these terms are rarely actually read, and can have serious legal ramifications if a dispute arises. The Pokémon Go TOS contains an “Agreement to Arbitrate” clause that strips users of their rights to participate in class action suits against developer Niantic Labs or to have a trial by jury. If users want to retain these rights, they must email Niantic within 30 days of agreeing to the TOS with an “Arbitration Opt-out Notice.” More information on opting out can be found in this article by The Consumerist.

This is only the beginning of Pokémon Go’s impact on the legal system, as lawyers grapple with the challenge of applying existing laws to new digitally augmented environments. Be safe when out looking for Pokémon, and happy hunting!

Latest and Greatest – Federal Deception Law

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   By Jonathan Sheldon and Carolyn L. Carter  Published by National Consumer Law Center (2016)  KF 1609 .S3 2016

By Jonathan Sheldon and Carolyn L. Carter

Published by National Consumer Law Center (2016)

KF 1609 .S3 2016

The Harris County Law Library has recently received the new edition of Federal Deception Law, just one of many titles available from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) in its Consumer Credit and Sales Legal Practice Series. Other titles in this series include Foreclosures, Student Loan Law, Truth in Lending, Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice, Consumer Warranty Law, and Automobile Fraud. A companion treatise to NCLC’s Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices, Federal Deception Law focuses on federal and parallel state rules and remedies applicable to consumer transactions. Chapters address FTC trade regulation rules and their scope, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules, telemarketing fraud and unwanted calls, texts, and Spam, federal and state RICO requirements, the Federal False Claims Act, and much more.

Database Access

Did you know that the online versions of the NCLC materials are available at the Law Library? With the online versions, you will have access to the full text of the treatises as well as any forms and pleadings. Moreover, the online editions are updated more frequently than their print counterparts, so you will always have access to the latest information. In addition, you can print, download, or email the results of your research. To use the database, simply ask at the reference desk, and one of our librarians will gladly log into the database on the Law Library's research computers. Visit our downtown Houston location for more information.

Latest and Greatest - Credit Repair

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   By Robin Leonard  Published by Nolo (12th Edition 2015)  HG 3756 .U54 L46 2015

By Robin Leonard

Published by Nolo (12th Edition 2015)

HG 3756 .U54 L46 2015

Is bad credit making it impossible for you to get a loan, an apartment, or even a job offer? If so, take a look at Nolo’s Credit Repair for tips on building a positive credit profile. This book will take you step by step through the process of repairing your credit. From the nuts and bolts of credit reports to cleaning up those reports, this resource will help you assess your financial situation and show you how to reduce your current expenses and debt and find ways to satisfy and negotiate the payment of those debts. In addition, the author offers suggestions on how to rebuild, create, and maintain a positive credit history. A chapter is even devoted to avoiding identity theft and the steps you should take if your identity and personal information are stolen.

Credit Repair also includes references to organizations, agencies, and publications that can offer additional information to assist you in the credit repair process. There is a list of federal agencies to which you can submit consumer-related complaints and a list of consumer protection agencies available in each state. Moreover, there are over 30 legal forms that you can use in your efforts to rebuild your credit. Remember, it’s up to you to take the first step for a better financial future. So what are you waiting for? Come to the Harris County Law Library and look for this, and many other titles, in our Self-Help Collection.