The Other Face of Foreclosure
Much has been made of, and rightfully so, of all of the homeowners who have lost their homes or are losing their homes due to the latest meltdown on Wall Street.
But, there are other somewhat faceless victims in this crisis, tenants renting from homeowners.
In many ways, the crisis caused by foreclosures and its effect on tenants living in the United States of America is even more dire.
In most cases, the tenants paid their rent fees every month on time, month after month. They had no control over decisions made by the owner of their building of residence, be it a single, duplex or triplex family unit or multi unit apartment building.
When the owner chose to take out a second or third mortgage on their property, the tenants were not informed nor is it customary for an owner to consult with their tenants when they are making decisions that would clearly be characterized as the owner's personal business.
The banks and mortgage companies acting to foreclose on properties, by law, must contact the owners with a letter of intent to pursue foreclosure. Those entities would have no contact with renting tenants.
The problem with that reality is, after months, maybe even years, of paying rent to owners who defaulted on their mortgage payments, with owners being served with a notice of foreclosure, the innocent third parties, the tenants, are clueless of the action, often finding out on the day law enforcement officials arrive, eviction notice in hand, ordering them out of their rented home.
While legislators are looking at how to help homeowners hit by this latest crisis, thought should be given to those renter tenants who find themselves facing eviction onto the street without notification given, with the owner having received all of the warnings of forthcoming dispossession but who didn't bother to tell their tenants, often entire families, that they would need to find housing elsewhere.
Legislators should be contacted and informed of this issue. Legislation needs to be enacted that compels all property owners that lease their properties as rental properties to inform their tenants when a property is in foreclosure, with any legislation putting in place a reasonable amount of time for tenants to seek temporary housing so tenants and their families can avoid the prospect and harsh reality of homelessness.
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