Holy cow! The California legislation just passed a law preventing banks and other lenders from suing homeowners for unpaid mortgage balances after the lender agrees to a short sale. (hat tip, Kris Berg of the San Diego Castles blog). The way I read it, the new California law also prevents the lender(s) from requiring the homeowners to pay a lump-sum settlement at the short sale closing.
[The California legislature just passed into law] Senate Bill 458, prohibiting a deficiency after a short sale for one-to-four residential units, regardless of whether the lender is a senior or junior lienholder. .... Both senior and junior lienholders cannot require a borrower to owe or pay for a deficiency in a short sale. This law also prohibits any deficiency judgment to be requested or rendered for senior or junior liens after a short sale of one-to-four residential units.
Will it ever happen here, in metro Phoenix? Don't count on it. Politically, Arizona is far more "red" than California. Some years we're purple, but we've got a very, very long way to go until we're as blue as California.
Note to Arizonans: Arizona does not have a law on the books yet that protect homeowners in these kinds of situations. In Arizona you can be sued by your 2nd lender for the unpaid 2nd mortgage balance, for up to several years after a short sale, even if the lender gave permission for the short sale! So what should you do if you're underwater, considering a short sale, and have a 2nd mortgage or equity credit line/loan? Call an attorney! Call or email me and I'll be happy to refer you to the attorneys who handled my short sale.