Despite the enactment of the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (“PTFA”), which provides important federal protections for tenants in foreclosed properties, many renters are still being unfairly evicted after foreclosure according to a report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. PTFA, which was suppose to guarantee that renters received at least a 90 day notice before being evicted because of a foreclosure, the report said that many are being evicted without notice and that 40 percent of the families evicted because of foreclosure are renters.
Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty said, “Renters are losing their homes through no fault of their own. Already, the foreclosure crisis has lead to a dramatic rise in U.S. homelessness. Laws like the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, when properly implemented and enforced, are essential to preventing those renters from becoming homeless.”
Some renter advocates are suggesting that states enforce tougher rules regarding the eviction of renters after a foreclosure. Because the foreclosure crisis is decimating the amount of affordable rental property available, some advocates say that those who acquire properties through foreclosure should be required to serve as landlords and even offer lease renewals to existing tenants while maintaining affordable rent. Of course lenders and investors balk at such suggestions saying that they should not face any such restrictions after a foreclosure and that they have a right to claim and repurpose the foreclosed property as they see fit. However, we are not talking about just a few foreclosures here; we are talking about foreclosures on a mass scale that is disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable populations in our society. Maybe we should seriously consider placing safeguards to prevent the renters from facing homelessness because of a foreclosure.