The bill limits the premium, sometimes known as a "finder's fee", that a person may charge for offering assistance in recovering the balance of the purchase price of foreclosed property after all liens and claims against the property have been satisfied. Under current law, the public trustee must hold this balance, if any, for the benefit of the former owner of the property for up to 5 years, and then transfer it to the state treasurer for administration under the "Unclaimed Property Act".
The bill reduces the period during which the public trustee must hold these funds from 5 years to 2 years. It also voids any contract for payment of a finder's fee during the first 6 months of the public trustee's custody of the funds and during the first 2 years of the state treasurer's custody of the funds, and caps the finder's fee at 20% of the amount recovered once these periods expire. For amounts that have been in the custody of the state treasurer for 3 years or more, the finder's fee may be up to 30%.
Additional requirements are imposed on the finder's contract, including the requirements that the contract:
- Is signed by the person to whom the amounts are due;
- Contains a description of the property and the date of the foreclosure sale;
- Discloses that the public trustee is obligated to disburse the funds whether or not a finder is used; and
- Describes the nature of the services that the finder will perform.