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Kathryn Davis' Blog

By Kathryn Davis | Agent in 92881

California Foreclosure and Tenant Rights


California Foreclosure and Tenants Rights

 

  In a recent web search for a friend who is a renter affected by foreclosure I found   Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights, is urging renters to contest foreclosure evictions. Pointing to a new ruling from an Alameda County Superior Court judge, Tenants Together argues that most post-foreclosure eviction notices issued to tenants are invalid under California law.

California law requires eviction notices to provide specific information to terminate tenancy upon expiration of a time period specified in the notice. According to Dean Preston, Executive Director of Tenants Together, “Banks across the board have failed to comply with this basic requirement of California law when terminating tenancies after foreclosure. These notices are sloppy, they don’t clearly state when the tenant is expected to move out. Tenants who received these notices should get legal help and consider contesting these evictions.”

A tenant in Oakland did exactly that, with assistance from the nonprofit East Bay Community Law Center the tenant filed a motion to dismiss against an eviction lawsuit commenced by Aurora Loan Services LLC. On February 9, 2010, and the Judge dismissed the case without leave to amend, meaning that the action terminated conclusively in favor of the tenant. 

After acquiring property through foreclosure, banks usually serve a single notice upon all occupants of the property, reciting various timeframes, legal rights and requirements that apply differently depending on the type of occupant. Banks typically do not perform due diligence to determine whether the occupant resides as a tenant or former homeowner at the property, instead serving confusing notices in a general sense.

Under current law, unless the tenant wins within 60 days of the filing of the case, the bank’s eviction action, even if totally invalid, can end up as part of the tenant’s credit history, making it harder for tenants to find rental housing in the future. This is unfair to tenants who have been innocent of the foreclosure situation that they have now found themselves in.

As California’s only statewide organization for renters’ rights, Tenants Together has been at the forefront of efforts to address the plight of tenants in foreclosed properties. Tenants Together released a report in 2009, Hidden Impact: California Renters in the Foreclosure Crisis, which estimated that at least one third of residential units in foreclosure in California are rentals. Renters in these properties are innocent and hidden victims of a foreclosure crisis they did nothing to create. Tenants Together also operates California’s only hotline exclusively for tenants in foreclosure situations. California tenants can reach the hotline at (888) 495-8020.

 

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