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As Advocates Await Response, Renters Continue To Lose Their Homes



A national coalition of housing advocates have yet to receive a response to their letters urging the Obama administration and attorneys general in all 50 states to pay attention to the hidden victims of the foreclosure crisis: the hundreds of thousands of renters who are living in foreclosed homes.

In letters sent on October 29 to state and federal officials, the National Housing Law Project, a public interest law firm, and the Housing Justice Network, a national consortium of legal services attorneys, asked that current investigations into mortgage fraud expand to include widespread illegal evictions of tenants in blatant violation of the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act.

Renters occupy forty percent of homes currently in foreclosure in the United States. “The calls raised by the national task force and 50 attorneys general are focusing exclusively on the procedural irregularities related to the foreclosure. We urge concerned attorney generals’ offices in each state to consider thousands who are also devastated by the failure of foreclosing banks to follow the law – tenants residing in the foreclosed properties,” said Marcia Rosen, Executive Director of the National Housing Law Project. Wrongful foreclosures too often result in wrongful eviction of rent-paying tenants.

In addition, federal law requires that when the foreclosing bank that takes title to a residence, it must allow lease-holding tenants to stay for the remaining term of their leases. In the absence of a lease, or if the bank plans to pursue an eviction at the lease’s end, the law requires the bank to give tenants time to relocate, with a mandatory 90 day notice prior to starting the eviction process.

Yet, the National Housing Law Project and the Housing Justice Network attorneys report that they are besieged with calls from families in crisis who are being forced out of their homes with little or no notice, in flagrant violation of the law. In the worst scenarios, the renter family discovers that their home is a foreclosed property when they arrive home to find their possessions in the street, removed illegally by agents of the foreclosing banks and institutions.

“The same players who were responsible for the foreclosure crisis that ruined so many homeowners are wreaking havoc on tenants,” Rosen said. “The whole system has ignored the issue thus far and as a result, thousands of tenants are losing their homes with no recourse.”

Letters to Attorneys General and the White House from the National Housing Law Project and the Housing Justice Network asking federal and state investigators to look into the violations of tenants’ rights along with their scrutiny of lending practices are available on the National Housing Law Project website.

The National Housing Law Project has received calls from across the country from tenants illegally ousted from their foreclosed homes. For more information, contact David T. Rammler at the Washington, D.C. office of the National Housing Law Project 202-347-8775 or

About the National Housing Law Project:
Based in Oakland, California, and established in 1968, the National Housing Law Project is a charitable nonprofit housing law and advocacy center that provides legal assistance, advice and housing expertise to attorneys, paralegals and tenant leaders nationwide to advance housing justice for low-income people.

About the Housing Justice Network:
The Housing Justice Network is a membership organization that includes more than 1,000 housing, legal services and civil rights advocates.

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