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Wisconsin Law to Aid Renters of Foreclosed Homes

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
Renters in Wisconsin can now relax after the state passed a law that would protect them in case their rental houses become foreclosed homes.

Effective March 6, landlords are now required to notify in writing their renters or prospective renters when a foreclosure action on the rented property is filed and again notify them when they are unable to save the rental from foreclosure.

The state law also requires mortgage banks and other financial corporations to send written notices to current renters of foreclosed homes three times: one, when the foreclosure is filed; two, when the court allows the foreclosure to proceed; and third, when the foreclosed property is added to sales listings. Failure to send the written notices makes the banks liable to a fine of $250 and legal fees.

Under the new law, renters are also allowed to stay in the foreclosed homes for up to 60 days after the properties are sold. Renters can also use their security deposit as their rent for the last month of their stay.

The law, sponsored by State Representative Gordon Hintz and State Senator Lena Taylor, also prohibits the Wisconsin Circuit Court to display data related to the eviction of tenants from foreclosed homes.

Milwaukee City Mayor Tom Barrett is glad the law, which he backed, was passed. Barrett was aided in supporting the passage of the law by the Winnebago Housing Coalition, the Legal Action of Wisconsin and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council.

Barrett urged state lawmakers to pass the law because of growing state foreclosures and the rising numbers of families being immediately evicted from foreclosed homes after the properties have been sold at sheriff’s sales. What exacerbates the situation is that the landlords refuse to return their security deposits. So families, often headed by single mothers with several children, are forced out into the streets or into overloaded shelters.

Bob Anderson, a lawyer for Legal Action, said the law would give renters of foreclosed homes two months to look for another rental property. The allowance would also enable the renters to use the security deposit, which is often not returned by landlords when their rentals have become foreclosed homes.

Another Legal Action lawyer, Mark Silverman, also added the law makes a significant difference for renters. During these difficult times, state governments need to ensure renters have access to secure, safe and affordable rental housing.
John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.

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