How current events impact business & real estate

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tenants of Properties in Foreclosure May Be in Trouble in 2015

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), tenants comprise 40% of the families facing foreclosure.  In the past, many tenants did not know their homes were in foreclosure until they were forced to move out with little to no notice after the foreclosure sale date. Landlords had incentive to keep the foreclosure a secret from their tenants so that they could collect rent in the meantime. As a result, tenants had little recourse and were among the families hurt most by foreclosure.

In 2009, the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act was enacted in order to protect tenants of properties in foreclosure from being evicted from their homes without due notice. Under this Act, a tenant had the right to stay in the property until the end of his or her lease unless the new owner intended to live in the property. If the property were to be owner-occupied, a 90-day notice was required before the tenant could be evicted. Month-to-month tenants also required 90 days’ notice. No longer were tenants forced to move out within a few days of being given an eviction notice.

The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act was set to expire on December 31, 2012 but Section 1484 of the Dodd-Frank Act extended it to December 31, 2014. Two bills, S.1761 and H.R. 3543, were introduced in 2013 to permanently extend the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. However, neither bill has been passed, and it is unlikely that they will be passed in the next 2 days. It is possible, however, that the bills can be enacted retroactively in 2015.

Without this Act, tenants will not have the same heightened protections during the foreclosure process. It is imperative that a bill is passed to ensure that tenants are given due notice after a foreclosure sale date.