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Earlier today, Tenants Together, California's statewide organization for renters' rights, released its fourth annual report on California renters in the foreclosure crisis. The report reveals a shocking statistic: over one million California renters have been directly impacted by their landlord's foreclosure since the mortgage meltdown began.
According to Leah Simon-Weisberg, Legal Director at Tenants Together and principal author of the report, "We are five years and a million tenants into this crisis in California. Anti-eviction laws and aggressive enforcement efforts are needed to protect tenants from further abuse."
Tenants are innocent victims in a foreclosure crisis they did nothing to create. Tenants and their communities have continued to suffer from banks' and investors' poor maintenance of foreclosure properties and their inhumane and irrational eviction policies.
The report quantifies the impact of home foreclosures on tenants by analyzing 2011 data, describes recent foreclosure-related developments affecting tenants and makes recommendations to strengthen protections for tenants in foreclosure situations.
Key research findings highlighted in the report include:
• Approximately 175,000 renters were directly affected by residential foreclosures last year
• Over one million California renters have been directly impacted by foreclosure since the mortgage meltdown began in 2007
• Renters occupy an increasing percentage of the homes in foreclosure in California as apartment building foreclosures have stayed stubbornly high, even as single-family homes foreclosure have declined
Key developments highlighted in the report include:
• Los Angeles City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich, commenced the first major government enforcement action against a bank (Deutsche Bank) for its violation of tenant rights after foreclosure
• The Merced City Council passed the Central Valley's first anti-eviction law to stop the arbitrary eviction of tenants after foreclosure
• Fresno County Assessor-Recorder, Paul Dictos, CPA, announced a proactive initiative to conduct outreach to tenants and homeowners in pre-foreclosure properties
Tenants Together is in a unique position to report on the human impact of the foreclosure crisis on renters. The organization operates California's only hotline for tenants in foreclosure situations and has counseled over 6,000 tenants from across the state. California tenants can reach the Tenant Foreclosure Hotline toll-free at 1-888-495-8020 or submit an online intake form at www.tenantstogether.org/hotlineintake to get a call back from a counselor.
Once again, Tenants Together concludes its annual report with checklist of recommended action to mitigate the impact of the foreclosure crisis on tenants. Among the various proposals, the report notes that 'just cause for eviction' laws are a particularly effective and cost-free way to stop the unfair displacement of innocent renters after foreclosure and provide stability to the community at large.