North Las Vegas Approves Plan to Use Eminent Domain to Aid Underwater Homeowners

June 20, 2013
Las Vegas Review-Journal  
mortgage lending news

North Las Vegas City Council members on June 19 endorsed a hotly debated plan that is meant to help underwater homeowners avoid foreclosure. Under the proposal, which passed on a 4-1 vote, the city entered into an advisory services agreement with Mortgage Resolution Partners (MRP), which created a controversial program that refinances distressed home loans seized via eminent domain. Las Vegas now is the first city in Nevada to entertain the concept, although opponents such as real estate agents and mortgage bankers say that it could face legal challenges. With this program, city officials will use eminent domain to pay mortgage investors less than face value for a troubled home loan while MRP representatives restructure the homeowner’s debts in a new mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration. The company will charge the city a per-loan advisory fee, and both sides will claim a portion of the difference between the original bad mortgage and a new, FHA-backed loan resold to third-party mortgage investors. North Las Vegas homeowner Darrell Whaley, who has tried to enroll in more than a dozen federally backed loan modification programs, supported the program, saying that many homeowners such as he would have no other options.
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