Bill protects tenants in foreclosed properties

Jeanette A. Tucker  |  7/24/2009 8:19:25 PM

News You Can Use Distributed 07/24/09

Tenants in foreclosed properties have new protections under a bill signed by President Barack Obama May 20, according to LSU AgCenter family economist Dr. Jeanette Tucker.

“The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act includes a nationwide 90-day pre-eviction notice requirement for tenants in foreclosed properties,” Tucker says.

“Also, none of the provisions of the bill preempt more protective state and local laws, and all of these provisions expire at the end of 2012,” the family economist explains.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition offers other details about the bill. For example, if the new owner says you, the tenant, must leave in less than 90 days, you should mail a letter telling the new owner about the law. Keep a copy of the letter. Go to the post office and pay for a return receipt that the new owner signs. When the signed receipt returns to you, keep it.

The coalition also says you must offer to pay the new owner rent. If you fail to pay rent, the new owner can send a letter giving you notice to pay or to move.

If you have a one-year lease with more than 90 days left on it, the new owner cannot evict you until the end of the lease. There are two exceptions, however, according to the coalition. First, if the new owner wants to use the home as a primary residence, only a 90-day notice is required. Second, if you do not pay your rent, the new owner only has to give you a written notice.

If the new owner files an eviction, the coalition says to file an answer with the court stating the new owner failed to give the notice required by the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act [Pub. L. No. 111-22, S702 (2009)].

Go to court on the date the court sets for a trial. Take with you to court (1) the copy of your letter to the new owner; (2) the green return receipt; (3) a copy of the new law attached to the notice; and (4) a copy of your lease, if you have one.

Tucker says if you are a section 8 (subsidized housing) tenant, you have all the rights of other tenants. In addition, the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contract continues because foreclosure is not a lawful reason to terminate your lease.

If you run into problems, Tucker recommends calling your Section 8 worker and telling the worker what is happening.

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Editor: Mark Claesgens

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