Advocates want renter protection as part of bill

As the financial services industry awaits final language in the federal
reform bill, housing advocates are wondering if tenant protections will
be extended by the legislation.

The Protecting Tenants at
Foreclosure Act of 2009, mandates that renters be given 90 days notice
before they must leave a property, and in many cases, provides that
they may remain for the entire term of the lease.

PTFA is set to expire at the end of 2012, but language in the Wall
Street reform legislation would keep it alive through the close of 2014.

National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty released a report
this month showing that tenants continue to be forced out on short
notice and threatened with eviction by the new property owner in a
foreclosure sale.

The center was a leading advocate for PTFA and
according to its research, legislatures in 21 states this year
considered bills that would strengthen protections for renters.

November 2008, a law went into effect in Connecticut that freezes or
prohibits eviction proceedings at foreclosed properties until 60 days
after a buyer’s new title takes effect or the expiration of the lease,
whichever is later.

A “cash for keys” law went into effect the
same month in the state, which allows the new owner to offer financial
incentives to tenants for moving out quickly, with stipulations on the
value of the offer. The General Assembly this year did not pass a bill
that would have set a $2,000 minimum for move-out incentives and would
have codified as state law certain sections of PTFA.

Connecticut law, the report said, Section 8 leases may survive
foreclosure and a court may order eviction as part of a foreclosure
proceeding only if the tenants are party to the action.

are losing their homes through no fault of their own. ... Laws like the
(PTFA), when properly implemented and enforced, are essential to
preventing renters from becoming homeless,” said Maria Foscarinis,
executive director of the center. “The rights of renters shouldn’t
expire. We must ensure that state and federal law help keep people

In other housing provisions, the reform bill would
assist the unemployed with mortgage payments and allocate $1 billion in
a third round of funding for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program,
which uses the money at local levels to purchase and redevelop
residential and other foreclosed properties and demolish blighted
structures, according to the National Low Income Housing Coaliton.

Congress is scheduled to hold final votes on the reform bill this week.

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