|SAME AS||No same as|
|COSPNSR||Jaffee, Colton, Camara, Rosenthal, Reilly, O'Donnell, Cook, Lancman, Barron, Perry, Pretlow, Boyland, Ramos, Rivera N, Schimel, Hooper|
|MLTSPNSR||Abbate, Farrell, Glick, Heastie, Meng, Millman, Peoples-Stokes, Pheffer, Thiele, Weisenberg, Wright|
|Amd S1303, add SS1309 & 1316, RPAP L; add S6-n, Bank L; add S2-c, Judy L; rpld & add R3408, CPLR|
|Enacts the "foreclosure diversion act of 2011"; provides for a one-year moratorium on foreclosures; requires a homeowner to attend a counseling session; requires courts to meet with parties at a mandatory settlement conference.|
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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A1597 SPONSOR: Jeffries (MS)
TITLE OF BILL: An act enacting the "foreclosure diversion act of 2011"; to amend the real property actions and proceedings law, in relation to giving notice to mortgagors of the availability of foreclo- sure prevention counseling; to amend the banking law and the civil prac- tice law and rules, in relation to settlement conferences; to amend the real property actions and proceedings law, in relation to availability of a settlement conference in pending foreclosure actions; to amend the real property actions and proceedings law, in relation to providing a one-year postponement on foreclosures; to amend the judiciary law, in relation to the assignment of foreclosure actions; to repeal certain provisions of the civil practice law and rules relating thereto; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 - Titles the "foreclosure diversion act of 2011" Section 2 - Statement of purpose & findings Section 3 - Definitions Section 4 details the Education and Outreach efforts the New York State Banking Department will undertake as an effort to reach homeowners whose homes are subject to foreclosure. Such efforts will include, but are not limited to, public service announcements and internet web sites main- tained by the department. Section 5 Subdivision 1 and 3 amends subdivisions 1 and 3 of section 1303 of RPAPL, as amended by 472 of the laws of 2008, to include in the notice requirement upon the commencement of a foreclosure action mandated counseling before any settlement conference, the hotline home- owners must call to receive information about not-for-profits which administer such counseling and the eligibility for a foreclosure post- ponement after participating in such counseling. Section 6 amends the banking law by adding an new section 6-n which assigns responsibility to the New York State Banking Department in establishing the procedure by which homeowners are counseled. If a resolution is reached between homeowner and the foreclosing party before the mandatory settlement conference, a certificate of resolution is to be filed with the court. If no resolution is made prior to the settle- ment conference a certificate of participation is to be filed with the courts. Section 7 amends Rule 3408 of the CPLR concerning mandatory settlement conferences to (1) establish the purpose of the mandatory settlement conference; (2) include in the notice of such conference the requirement that the homeowner participate in both the mandatory settlement confer- ence and complete a counseling session with an approved counselor prior to such conference; (3) require such counselor to send a modification proposal reached in the counseling session to the foreclosing party at least 10 days prior to the settlement conference and the foreclosing party to make a good faith effort to reach a settlement with the home- owner prior to the settlement conference; (4) allow the court to appoint counsel and adjourn the settlement conference if a homeowner appears pro se; (5) allow the homeowner to be represented by counselor a represen- tative with the authority to dispose of the case at the settlement conference; (6) require a homeowner at the settlement conference to present proof of participation in a counseling session with an approved counselor to take advantage of the nine month postponement option; (7) allow the court to preside over the mandatory settlement conference to facilitate a repayment plan that allows the homeowner to stay in their home: (8) require the court to provide all approved loan counseling agencies with a list of all home-owners served with a mandatory settle- ment conference notice; (9) require the court to detail any agreements made in a mandatory settlement conference into record for the action; and (10) provide penalties for plaintiffs who fail to appear without good cause or who are not represented by an individual authorized to negotiate and settle the claim. Section 8 amends RPAPL by adding a new section 1316 which allows any homeowner who has had an action for foreclosure on a residential mort- gage initiated prior to this act but where no final judgment has been entered the opportunity to request a settlement conference. Section 9 amends RPAPL by adding a new section 1305 to (1) allow the foreclosing party in a residential action relief in state court; (2) postpone a judgment of foreclosure for 90 days under this act and allow a nine month abeyance of any foreclosure action if the homeowner receives counseling and participates in a mandatory settlement confer- ence pursuant to this act. This abeyance is solely for the purpose to come to a settlement with the foreclosing party to keep the homeowner in their home; (3) waive all fees associated with the filing of a foreclo- sure action pursuant to this act; (4) establish the minimum requirements to be met in filing a foreclosure action; (5) and (6) allow the court officer presiding over the settlement conference to facilitate negoti- ation of a payment schedule by which a homeowner can continue to pay the mortgage actionable in the foreclosure so as to preserve the financial interest of the homeowner in the property until a settlement can be reached. This payment schedule shall last for no more than one year without a re-examination of the circumstances, and failure to adhere to such a payment schedule may result in foreclosure or a termination of the abeyance; (7) allow for any party to apply to the court officer or mediator for a revision of such payment schedule based on the fact that the terms of the payment plan are no longer just and equitable. Section 10 amends the judiciary law by adding a new section 2-c to ensure, as practicable under the individual assignment system of each court, that all foreclosure actions be assigned to the same judge or pool of judges.   JUSTIFICATION: Throughout the state, foreclosures continue to dramat- ically increase. In New York City, more than 1,700 homes were in some state of foreclosure in February of 2009, an increase of more than 44% from January. Statewide, Foreclosures are up more than 23% since Decem- ber of 2008. Many of the homeowners facing these foreclosures are the victims of predatory lending practices. Although certain lenders have voluntarily suspended foreclosures, these statistics indicate a need for more direct intervention. This bill would provide for a one year moratorium on foreclosures, and would promote negotiated settlements, helping to avoid foreclosure, and keeping work- ing New Yorkers in their homes.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-2010 (A.8236-A/S.4109-B) Referred to Banks.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law and expire 3 years after such effective date when upon such date the provisions of this act shall be deemed repealed. Effective immediately, the superintendent of banks may promulgate any rule or regulation necessary for the timely implementation of this act on its effective date.
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STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1597 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN ASSEMBLY January 11, 2011 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. JEFFRIES, JAFFEE, COLTON, CAMARA, ROSENTHAL, REILLY, O'DONNELL, COOK, LANCMAN, BARRON, PERRY, PRETLOW, BOYLAND, RAMOS, N. RIVERA, SCHIMEL, HOOPER -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. ABBATE, FARRELL, GLICK, HEASTIE, MENG, MILLMAN, PEOPLES-STOKES, PHEF- FER, THIELE, WEISENBERG, WRIGHT -- read once and referred to the Committee on Banks AN ACT enacting the "foreclosure diversion act of 2011"; to amend the real property actions and proceedings law, in relation to giving notice to mortgagors of the availability of foreclosure prevention counseling; to amend the banking law and the civil practice law and rules, in relation to settlement conferences; to amend the real prop- erty actions and proceedings law, in relation to availability of a settlement conference in pending foreclosure actions; to amend the real property actions and proceedings law, in relation to providing a one-year postponement on foreclosures; to amend the judiciary law, in relation to the assignment of foreclosure actions; to repeal certain provisions of the civil practice law and rules relating thereto; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as 2 the "foreclosure diversion act of 2011". 3 § 2. Statement of legislative purpose and findings. The legislature 4 finds and declares that there is a public emergency; that the extension 5 of unaffordable mortgage loans, unaffordable second mortgages and unaf- 6 fordable home equity loans have resulted in thousands of homeowners 7 losing their homes. The problems associated with these loans adversely 8 affect the availability of capital, the demand for housing, the value of 9 real estate, and more importantly, the ability of homeowners to keep 10 their homes and communities viable. The pending reset of interest rates 11 in many home mortgages, second mortgages and home equity loans will only EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04624-01-1A. 1597 2 1 exacerbate this situation for many homeowners. The expectation that many 2 such variable rate mortgages will fall into foreclosure upon the reset 3 of the interest rate compels the state to take action. State assistance 4 to homeowners through a counseling program is necessary in order to stem 5 this crisis. 6 § 3. Definitions. As used in this section and section four of this 7 act, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings: 8 1. "Commissioner" shall mean the commissioner of the state division of 9 housing and community renewal. 10 2. "Department" shall mean the banking department. 11 3. "Division" shall mean the state division of housing and community 12 renewal. 13 4. "Eligible homeowners" shall mean any resident of this state 14 currently residing in a home located in this state subject to a home 15 loan who the commissioner determines, pursuant to the eligibility 16 restrictions set forth in this act, is in need of foreclosure diversion 17 assistance. 18 5. "Home loan" shall mean a residential home mortgage loan, including 19 an open-end credit plan, other than a reverse mortgage transaction, in 20 which: 21 (a) the borrower is a natural person; 22 (b) the debt is incurred by the borrower primarily for personal, fami- 23 ly or household purposes; 24 (c) the loan is secured by a mortgage or deed of trust on real estate 25 upon which there is located a structure or structures intended princi- 26 pally for occupancy of 1 to 4 families which is occupied by the borrower 27 as the borrower's principal dwelling; and 28 (d) the property is located in this state. 29 6. "Lender" shall mean (a) a mortgage banker as defined in paragraph 30 (f) of subdivision 1 of section 590 of the banking law, or (b) an exempt 31 organization as defined in paragraph (e) of subdivision 1 of section 590 32 of the banking law, or (c) a mortgage loan servicer as defined in para- 33 graph (h) of subdivision 1 of section 590 of the banking law. 34 7. "Non-profit assistance provider" shall mean a corporation or group 35 of corporations organized under the provisions of the not-for-profit 36 corporation law, including but not limited to neighborhood preservation 37 companies as defined in section 902 of the private housing finance law, 38 entities that perform housing preservation and community renewal activ- 39 ities pursuant to article 17 of the private housing finance law, common- 40 ly referred to as rural preservation companies, and legal service 41 providers, and municipalities. 42 8. "Service area" shall mean the established or stated boundaries of a 43 non-profit assistance provider or, if an assistance provider does not 44 have established boundaries for the geographic area in which it provides 45 services, the geographic area defined in its proposal to the division to 46 be a service provider. 47 9. "Superintendent" shall mean the superintendent of banks. 48 § 4. Education and outreach to homeowners. In coordination with the 49 division and the consumer protection board, the department shall under- 50 take outreach activities directed at any homeowners whose homes are 51 subject to foreclosure. Such outreach activities shall include, but not 52 be limited to: 53 1. the production and broadcast of public service announcements using 54 electronic media to inform the general public of the availability of 55 counseling through the New York state foreclosure diversion program 56 established by this act. Such public service announcements shall informA. 1597 3 1 the homeowner of the nature and purpose of the counseling and provide a 2 website and phone number for the homeowner to utilize; and 3 2. the inclusion of a description on the internet websites maintained 4 by the division, the department and the consumer protection board of the 5 New York state foreclosure diversion program and a listing of those 6 entities that provide counseling with respect to the program. Such 7 listing shall include the address and phone number of each entity. 8 § 5. Subdivisions 1 and 3 of section 1303 of the real property actions 9 and proceedings law, as amended by chapter 507 of the laws of 2009, are 10 amended to read as follows: 11 1. The foreclosing party in a mortgage foreclosure action, involving 12 residential real property shall provide notice to: 13 (a) any mortgagor if the action relates to an owner-occupied one-to- 14 four family dwelling; and 15 (b) any tenant of a dwelling unit in accordance with the provisions of 16 this section. Such notice shall include information about the availabil- 17 ity of the foreclosure diversion program and its ability to assist home- 18 owners in avoiding foreclosure and the mandatory counseling required for 19 participation in the foreclosure diversion program. Such notice shall 20 include the hotline established by the banking department and provided 21 by the division of housing and community renewal pursuant to section 22 four of the foreclosure diversion act of 2011 and the names and contact 23 information for all not-for-profit assistance providers authorized by 24 the department to provide housing counseling services to homeowners. 25 3. The notice to any mortgagor required by paragraph (a) of subdivi- 26 sion one of this section shall appear as follows: 27 Help for Homeowners in Foreclosure 28 New York State Law requires that we send you this notice about the 29 foreclosure process. Please read it carefully. 30 BEFORE YOU ATTEND A SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE, YOU ARE STRONGLY URGED TO 31 SCHEDULE AND ATTEND A COUNSELING SESSION BY CALLING THE BANKING DEPART- 32 MENT AT THE FOLLOWING HOTLINE NUMBER: _______________________ 33 Summons and Complaint 34 You are in danger of losing your home. If you fail to respond to the 35 summons and complaint in this foreclosure action, you may lose your 36 home. Please read the summons and complaint carefully. You should imme- 37 diately contact an attorney or your local legal aid office to obtain 38 advice on how to protect yourself. You should immediately seek out an 39 approved loan counselor. A list of approved counselors can be obtained 40 by calling the hotline. If you do not attend a counseling session, you 41 will not be eligible to participate in the residential mortgage foreclo- 42 sure diversion program. This will not affect your right to a settlement 43 conference, but will affect your eligibility for a postponement of fore- 44 closure under the residential mortgage foreclosure diversion program. 45 Sources of Information and Assistance 46 The State encourages you to become informed about your options in 47 foreclosure. In addition to seeking assistance from an attorney or legal 48 aid office, there are government agencies and non-profit organizations 49 that you may contact for information about possible options, including 50 trying to work with your lender during this process. 51 To locate an entity near you, you may call the toll-free helpline 52 maintained by the New York State Banking Department at (enter number) or 53 visit the Department's website at (enter web address). 54 Foreclosure rescue scams 55 Be careful of people who approach you with offers to "save" your home. 56 There are individuals who watch for notices of foreclosure actions inA. 1597 4 1 order to unfairly profit from a homeowner's distress. You should be 2 extremely careful about any such promises and any suggestions that you 3 pay them a fee or sign over your deed. State law requires anyone offer- 4 ing such services for profit to enter into a contract which fully 5 describes the services they will perform and fees they will charge, and 6 which prohibits them from taking any money from you until they have 7 completed all such promised services. 8 § 6. The banking law is amended by adding a new section 6-n to read as 9 follows: 10 § 6-n. Counseling of mortgagees. 1. The department shall establish a 11 procedure to counsel homeowners whose property is subject to or about to 12 become subject to foreclosure. 13 2. A counselor from a not-for-profit assistance provider approved by 14 the department shall meet with all homeowners prior to their scheduled 15 settlement conference. The counselor shall also consult with the fore- 16 closing party or such party's representative and attempt to formulate a 17 repayment schedule that is acceptable to both the homeowner and the 18 foreclosing party. If the parties agree, they shall file a certificate 19 of resolution with the court of jurisdiction. 20 3. If the counselor is unable to negotiate an acceptable resolution, 21 the parties shall file a certificate of participation with the court of 22 jurisdiction and the scheduled settlement conference shall proceed. 23 § 7. Rule 3408 of the civil practice law and rules is REPEALED and a 24 new rule 3408 is added to read as follows: 25 Rule 3408. Mandatory settlement conference in residential foreclosure 26 actions. 1. In any residential foreclosure action in which the defendant 27 is a resident of the property subject to foreclosure, the court shall 28 hold a mandatory conference within ninety days after the date when proof 29 of service is filed with the county clerk, or on such adjourned date as 30 has been agreed to by the parties, for the purpose of holding settlement 31 discussions pertaining to the relative rights and obligations of the 32 parties under the mortgage loan documents, including, but not limited to 33 determining whether the parties can reach a mutually agreeable resol- 34 ution to help the defendant avoid losing his or her home, and evaluating 35 the potential for a resolution in which payment schedules or amounts may 36 be modified or other workout options may be agreed to, and for whatever 37 other purposes the court deems appropriate. 38 2. The court shall cause a notice to be sent to the parties by certi- 39 fied mail informing them of the date, time, and location of the confer- 40 ence, and informing the homeowner of his or her option of participation 41 in the residential mortgage foreclosure diversion program established 42 pursuant to the foreclosure diversion act of 2011. The notice shall 43 include the hotline established by the banking department pursuant to 44 the foreclosure diversion act of 2011 and a statement that the homeowner 45 must complete a counseling session prior to his or her scheduled settle- 46 ment conference in order to participate in the residential mortgage 47 foreclosure diversion program. 48 3. If the homeowner completes a counseling session with a counselor 49 from a not-for-profit assistance provider approved by the department, 50 such counselor shall send a loan modification proposal to the foreclos- 51 ing party at least ten days prior to the settlement conference. The 52 foreclosing party shall, prior to the settlement conference, review the 53 modification proposal and make a good faith effort to reach a resolution 54 with the homeowner. 55 4. At the initial conference held pursuant to this section, any 56 defendant currently appearing pro se, shall be deemed to have made aA. 1597 5 1 motion to proceed as a poor person under section eleven hundred one of 2 this chapter. The court shall determine whether such permission shall be 3 granted pursuant to standards set forth in section eleven hundred one of 4 this chapter. If the court appoints defendant counsel pursuant to subdi- 5 vision (a) of section eleven hundred two of this chapter, it shall 6 adjourn the conference to a date certain for appearance of counsel and 7 settlement discussions pursuant to subdivision one of this section, and 8 otherwise shall proceed with the conference. 9 5. At any conference held pursuant to this section, the plaintiff 10 shall appear in person or by counsel. Any person representing the plain- 11 tiff shall have full settlement authority, including the authority to 12 dispose of the case and to enter into or approve a loan modification or 13 workout agreement. The defendant-mortgagor shall appear in person or by 14 counsel. Such appearance and participation by the defendant-mortgagor 15 shall not constitute an appearance in the action nor shall it be deemed 16 to be a waiver, in whole or in part, of any defenses, jurisdictional or 17 otherwise, that the defendant-mortgagor may have to the action. Any and 18 all statements made, whether oral or written, and any or all information 19 exchanged at the conference, shall be solely for the purposes of resol- 20 ution and settlement and shall not be deemed to be the admissions of any 21 party with respect to the underlying action. If the defendant is appear- 22 ing pro se, the court shall advise the defendant of the nature of the 23 action and his or her rights and responsibilities as a defendant. Where 24 appropriate, the court may permit a plaintiff or the plaintiff's repre- 25 sentative to attend the settlement conference telephonically or by 26 video-conference. Until all the provisions and procedures of the settle- 27 ment conference are concluded, the mortgagee shall be precluded from 28 filing a motion for summary judgment or order of reference or otherwise 29 proceeding with the foreclosure case. The failure of the plaintiff to 30 appear at a scheduled conference without good cause or appearance by a 31 representative without full authority to enter into a settlement, 32 modification or workout agreement shall subject the plaintiff and/or 33 counsel to appropriate remedial action including but not limited to 34 default, non-suit or dismissal with prejudice. 35 6. Both parties must have any supporting documentation with them at 36 the time of the conference. If the homeowner attended a counseling 37 session with an approved counselor, such counselor must have given a 38 loan modification proposal to the foreclosing party at least ten days 39 prior to the settlement conference. 40 7. The court shall preside over the conference in an effort to estab- 41 lish a repayment plan that is acceptable to the lender that allows the 42 homeowner to remain in the home. 43 8. After the settlement conference, the court shall produce a report 44 finalizing and detailing any terms and conditions that have been agreed 45 upon by the parties. Such report shall be made part of the record for 46 the action. 47 § 8. The real property actions and proceedings law is amended by 48 adding a new section 1316 to read as follows: 49 § 1316. The court shall notify the defendant of any foreclosure action 50 on a residential mortgage loan, in which the action was initiated but 51 where the final order of judgment was not issued prior to the effective 52 date of the foreclosure diversion act of 2011, that such defendant may 53 request a settlement conference in accordance with rule thirty-four 54 hundred eight of the civil practice law and rules. 55 § 9. The real property actions and proceedings law is amended by 56 adding a new section 1309 to read as follows:A. 1597 6 1 § 1309. Foreclosures; court relief. 1. Venue. In any action to fore- 2 close a residential mortgage under this article a mortgagor named in 3 such action may apply for relief in state supreme court pursuant to this 4 section. 5 2. Timing of postponement. If a mortgagee has otherwise established 6 its legal right to judgment on an action to foreclose a residential 7 mortgage pursuant to this chapter, then such action shall be held in 8 abeyance by the court before which such action is pending for a period 9 of ninety days. If the mortgagor receives counseling from a not-for-pro- 10 fit assistance provider approved by the division and subsequently 11 participates in a settlement conference, then the court before which 12 such action is pending shall hold such action in abeyance for an addi- 13 tional nine months. Such additional period of time is intended to 14 permit the parties to settle the action outside of court and to fore- 15 stall foreclosure wherever possible. 16 3. Process and fees. If an action to foreclose a residential mortgage 17 has been commenced prior to the effective date of this section, a mort- 18 gagor may ask the court before which such action is commenced to hold 19 such action in abeyance pursuant to subdivision two of this section. 20 Motions on notice in accordance with the civil practice law and rules 21 made by the mortgagor shall be deemed to have been filed by a poor 22 person pursuant to article eleven of the civil practice law and rules 23 and all court fees otherwise applicable to such actions and payable by a 24 mortgagor shall be waived. If a foreclosure action has not been 25 commenced prior to the effective date of this section, a mortgagor must 26 commence an action in state supreme court by filing and serving a 27 summons pursuant to article three of the civil practice law and rules 28 with a request for relief pursuant to the terms of this section. In such 29 case, such filing shall be deemed to have been filed by a poor person 30 pursuant to article eleven of the civil practice law and rules and all 31 filing and court fees otherwise applicable to such actions and payable 32 by a mortgagor in the form of index and motion fees shall be waived. 33 4. Prima facie case. A mortgagor must establish a prima facie case in 34 the motion or pleading. Amendments to such motion or pleading shall be 35 liberally granted. Such pleading must establish that: 36 a. the mortgagor is a natural person; and 37 b. the debt is incurred by the mortgagor primarily for personal, fami- 38 ly or household purposes; and 39 c. the loan is secured by a mortgage, second mortgage or home equity 40 loan on real property which is improved with a residential building 41 containing one to four dwelling units; and 42 d. the real property subject to foreclosure is the principal residence 43 of the mortgagor; and 44 e. the mortgagor owns no other real property; and 45 f. the real property is located in this state. 46 5. Monthly payment schedule. If a prima facie case has been estab- 47 lished, the court officer or mediator presiding over the settlement 48 conference set forth in rule thirty-four hundred eight of the civil 49 practice law and rules shall work with the parties to establish the 50 terms of a monthly payment schedule which will preserve the relative 51 financial interests of both parties under terms which are equitable and 52 just. Towards that end, the court officer or mediator shall inquire into 53 the finances of both the mortgagee and the mortgagor. The purpose of 54 such inquiry shall be to determine the minimum amount necessary to main- 55 tain the mortgagee's financial position and to determine the amount 56 which the mortgagor will be able to afford. Such monthly payments shallA. 1597 7 1 be applied to the principal and interest upon the indebtedness. If the 2 financial condition of the mortgagor exceeds the minimum amount neces- 3 sary to maintain the financial position of the mortgagee, such monthly 4 amount may be increased beyond the minimum amount as determined within 5 the discretion of the court officer or mediator. It is within the court 6 officer's or mediator's discretion to determine whether the establish- 7 ment of such payment schedule is possible under terms which are equita- 8 ble and just. The purpose of such monthly payments is to preserve the 9 relative financial interests of both parties until a settlement can be 10 reached but in no event shall such order govern for more than one year. 11 Failure to adhere to the terms of such schedule may also result in fore- 12 closure or lifting of the abeyance. 13 6. Postponement order. Once the court determines that an equitable and 14 just payment schedule can be established, it shall issue an order which 15 sets forth the terms of such payment schedule and serve it upon all 16 parties to the proceeding. Such order shall set forth a return date for 17 the re-examination of such matter after passage of the postponement time 18 period at a formal hearing on notice to the parties. The court may 19 tailor relief as required by the facts of each case that falls within 20 the purview of this section. However, in no event shall such order post- 21 pone final action beyond one year without a re-examination of the 22 parties' financial circumstances after formal hearing on notice to the 23 parties. The time period of such order shall run from the date of the 24 entry of such order. Such abeyance shall not begin until the foreclo- 25 sure process has reached the point where a final determination is possi- 26 ble but shall be withheld until the postponement period has elapsed. 27 Entitlement to such abeyance may be established at any time regardless 28 of whether foreclosure is being sought by the mortgagee. Multiple post- 29 ponements may be granted in the discretion of the court if warranted by 30 the facts of a given case and the economic conditions across the state. 31 7. Continuing jurisdiction. The court shall maintain continuing juris- 32 diction of the matter until it reaches final resolution. Upon the appli- 33 cation of either party, prior to the expiration of the postponement 34 period, upon presentation of evidence that the terms fixed by the court 35 are no longer just and equitable, the court may revise and alter such 36 terms in such manner as the changed circumstances and conditions may 37 require. 38 § 10. The judiciary law is amended by adding a new section 2-c to read 39 as follows: 40 § 2-c. Individual assignments. The unified court system, in accordance 41 with their individual assignment system, shall ensure that all causes of 42 action to foreclose on real property shall be assigned to the same judge 43 or judges, to the extent practicable. 44 § 11. Notwithstanding the ninety day provision in subdivision 1 of 45 rule 3408 of the civil practice law and rules, a judge shall schedule 46 settlement conferences pursuant to such section for any foreclosure 47 proceeding currently on their calendar. 48 § 12. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall 49 have become a law and shall expire 3 years after such effective date 50 when upon such date the provisions of this act shall be deemed repealed. 51 Effective immediately, the superintendent of banks may promulgate any 52 rule or regulation necessary for the timely implementation of this act 53 on its effective date.