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Law Proposed to Protect Renters of Foreclosed Homes

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
More and more renters across the state of New York are being forced out of foreclosed homes. One of these is Lisa Brown, a 44-year-old single mother of three young girls on Long Island, who has been paying her rent faithfully for the last six months, but who was suddenly given notice to vacate her place within ten days because the property has been foreclosed.

Brown is just one of many low-income renters being given only a few days to vacate foreclosed homes by mortgage lenders. Brown also represents the demography of families caught in the swirl of foreclosed homes nationwide. Many renters of foreclosed homes are single mothers with several very young children, just like Brown.

It is cases like Brown’s that New York State Senator Jeff Klein is trying to address with the law that he has proposed to mitigate the effects of foreclosed homes. Klein proposed that renters caught up in foreclosure filings are given at least another 30 days to find another housing and move their belongings. Current legislation allows lenders to force out renters of foreclosed homes in ten days.

Klein’s proposal requires mortgage banks or homebuyers to notify renters about the foreclosure within 30 days of the foreclosure filing. Moreover, lenders or new owners must also notify renters about any eviction proceeding 30 days before the actual eviction.

Klein argued that tenants should not become victims of the mortgage lending crisis, especially so that most renters of properties that usually become foreclosed homes are low-income families and families consisting of single mothers and very young children. Housing advocates also say that some landlords have not been paying utility bills, putting tenants in difficult situations of either moving out to the streets and shelters or putting up with cold water and lack of heat.

Manhattan real estate lawyer Lisa Urban said more than 500 renters in December 2008 and more renters in January have faced evictions and related difficulties because of the problem of foreclosed homes. Because of the prevalence of the problem, the Legal Aid Society has established a special program in Queens that focus on helping both homeowners and renters affected by foreclosed homes.

According to Urban, renters occupying rent-stabilized homes and rent-controlled apartments are luckier because there is already a law protecting them from the effects of foreclosed homes. But for Brown, the single mother who has no relatives in the community and who has no money to pay the deposit for a new housing if she is lucky to find one, the only alternative aside from the streets is a shelter. Under current law, she has to be out of the foreclosed property within 10 days, not enough time to find another affordable rental property in an area full of renters.
John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.

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