(a) The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency shall establish and administer the Home Protection Program (“Program”) to assist North Carolina workers who have lost jobs as a result of changing economic conditions in North Carolina when the workers are in need of assistance to avoid losing their homes to foreclosure. The Agency shall do all of the following:
(1) Develop and administer the Home Protection Program Fund (“Fund”) to ensure that workers in North Carolina have assistance to avoid losing their homes to foreclosure.
(2) Make loans secured by liens on residential real property located in North Carolina to property owners who are eligible for those loans.
(3) Develop and administer procedures by which property owners at risk of being foreclosed upon may qualify for assistance.
(4) Designate, approve, and fund nonprofit counseling agencies in North Carolina to be available to assist the Agency in implementing the provisions of this section, provide services such as direct mortgagee negotiations on behalf of unemployed workers, and process loan applications for the Agency.
(5) Develop and fund enhanced methods by which workers may be notified of foreclosure mitigation services, may easily contact local nonprofit counseling agencies, and may apply for loans from the Agency.
(b) Home Protection Period.--Notwithstanding Chapters 23, 24, and 45 of the General Statutes or any other provision of law, upon the proper filing of an application for loan assistance by a mortgagor under this section, a mortgagee shall not do the following for a period of 120 days following the date of the mortgagor's properly filed application:
(1) Accelerate the maturity of any mortgage obligation covered under this section.
(2) Commence or continue any legal action, including mortgage foreclosure pursuant to Chapter 45 of the General Statutes, to recover the mortgage obligation.
(3) Take possession of any security of the mortgagor for the mortgage obligation.
(4) Procure or receive a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
(5) Enter judgment by confession pursuant to a note accompanying a mortgage.
(6) Proceed to enforce the mortgage obligation pursuant to applicable rules of civil procedure.
The provisions of this section shall not apply if the mortgagee receives notice from the Agency that the mortgagor's application has been denied.
If a mortgagee acts as proscribed in subdivisions (1) through (6) of this subsection, a mortgagor shall be entitled to injunctive relief without the necessity of providing a bond. This relief shall be in addition to any defenses available under G.S. 45-21.16(d) and any other remedies at law or equity.
Upon the Agency's receipt of a properly filed mortgagor's application for loan assistance, the Agency shall mail notice of the application to the mortgagor's mortgagee within 10 business days of the Agency's receipt of the application. The Agency shall also mail notice of the acceptance or denial of the mortgagor's application to the mortgagee within five days of the Agency's determination. Notice shall be deemed sufficient if sent to the last known address of the mortgagee.
(c) Rule Making.--Solely with respect to the adoption of procedures for the program by which property owners at risk of being foreclosed upon may qualify for assistance, the Agency is exempt from the requirements of Article 2A of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. Prior to adoption or amendment of procedures, the Agency shall:
(1) Publish the proposed procedures in the North Carolina Register at least 30 days prior to the adoption of the final procedures.
(2) Accept oral and written comments on the proposed procedures.
(3) Hold at least one public hearing on the proposed procedures.
(d) Annual Report.--By April 1 of each year, the Agency shall report to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Information Technology on the effectiveness of the Program in accomplishing its purposes and provide any other information the Agency determines is pertinent or that the General Assembly requests.
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