Assembly Approves Torrico's Protections in Foreclosed Properties

Friday, May 30, 2008
California Chronicle

ACRAMENTO - The state Assembly approved a bill by Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico (D-Newark) to provide greater protections for tenants facing eviction as a result of foreclosure and to double the amount of time renters have to find new housing. The bill passed on a 43 to 26 vote.

The California Apartment Association estimates that one-fourth of all foreclosed single-family homes are occupied by renters. Through no fault of their own, they find themselves scrambling to locate another home for their families, often with little awareness of their rights and little time.

"Renters see their lives thrown upside down without any hint that the property owner cannot meet the mortgage," Torrico said. "These thousands of families are really the hidden casualties of the mortgage meltdown. They did not fall behind their payments. They didn´t offer someone a loan they knew couldn´t be paid. Yet, they are paying the price of the credit crisis and are evicted, often with little or no notification and no information to guide them."

Torrico´s bill, AB 2586, would double the amount of time long-term tenants have to move from 30 days to 60 days and would also provide enhanced notification requirements.

Currently, notice of foreclosures are often posted on the property and directed at the owner. Seeing the posted notice is frequently the first time tenants are aware the home is foreclosed. On other occasions, tenants were unaware their homes were being foreclosed until the utilities were shut off.

Under AB 2586, each tenant in a property with one to four units would be notified individually of a possible foreclosure sale. Public utilities or any corporation that furnishes electricity, gas, heat, or water, would be required to provide written notification to renters at least 15 days prior to termination. Renters who make utility payments would be able to deduct the amount of the payment from the rent due.

AB 2586 is sponsored by the Western Center on Law and Poverty. It is supported by a number of organizations including the Gray Panthers, California Foundation for Independent Living Center and the Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality.

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