The California based non-profit organization Tenants Together put out a very interesting report this week talking about some of the least publicized victims of the foreclosure process – tenants.
In many cases, tenants whose landlord end up in foreclosure are wrongfully harassed and sometimes even evicted, despite recent legislation passed aimed at protecting tenants.
The report talks about some of the changes that have been made to protect tenants in foreclosure (although many of them aren’t being followed), then goes on to give some frightening statistics, and some very good suggestions about what to do in order to protect tenants once the bank becomes their landlord.
Here are some of the stats & suggestions that really caught my eye:
- At least 37% of foreclosures in California are rental properties.
- More than 200,000 tenants in California were affected by foreclosures in 2009 alone.
- From 2008-2009 there was a 70% increase in foreclosures of apartment buildings with 5 units or more.
- Enforcement agencies must step up efforts to enforce tenant protection laws, and hold banks accountable for breaking those rules.
- California Counties should notify tenants when a notice of default is filed.
- Laws should be enacted to ensure that innocent tenants don’t harm their credit scored with involuntary evictions.
Renters are innocent victims of the foreclosure process. Horror stories of banks hiring lawyers and real estate agents to harass & threaten renters who have been living in homes that are foreclosed on are heartbreaking. The thought that many of these people hurt their credit and some even end up homeless, despite the fact that they have never missed a payment and never got themselves in over their head financially is even more so. Something needs to be done to combat this problem and enforce the laws to the banks who unjustly treat these tenants unfairly.