The Knesset Constitution Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would force banks to provide alternative housing for borrowers whose homes were foreclosed after defaulting on their mortgage payments. "The committee made an important decision for the protection of mortgage borrowers and for preventing the possibility they will end up in the street," committee chairman Menahem Ben-Sasson (Kadima) said. "A man's apartment is not just a place to live, it also [contributes to] his self-respect and security." According to the bill, which was approved for second and third readings, the Execution Office's registrar cannot issue instructions to sell a property without proving that its owners have alternative housing, or that they have the financial means to rent; if they don't have the financial means, they must be offered reasonable housing for up to 18 months. The committee plans to approve a different clause that would allow the registrar to extend the period of time in extreme cases. MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) said alternative housing should be provided for 18 months regardless of the registrar's decision. Ben-Sasson postponed voting on the question of whether the law should be applied retroactively, due to poor attendance of the committee members and the desire to reach a clear majority. "The banks will no longer be able to suppress information from their clients and prevent them from their right for alternative housing and respectable living," he said. "We must hang on to these values and make sure financial institutions play by the norms that respect the basic rights of each human being."