Renters out of luck as properties go into foreclosure

DAYTONA BEACH -- Dozens of pieces of furniture, mattresses, lamps
and other assorted household items were scattered across Magnolia
Avenue late Friday afternoon after several renters were kicked out of
two houses lost to foreclosures.

Among the renters left on the street in the sweltering afternoon,
were crying toddlers whose mother was evicted about 10 a.m. from 549
Magnolia Ave.

The young mother -- 27-year-old Joy Soriano -- was joined by other
neighbors who looked dazed and bewildered as they sat on dinette chairs
on the sidewalk, wondering where they would spend the night.

"I had $200 worth of food that's spoiled," Soriano said as her
children tugged at her skirt impatiently. She said she was current on
her rent.

But David Ayers, who owned the houses until a month ago, said late
Friday that Soriano's father-in-law pays the rent and other tenants are
not current on their payments.

"I have to collect the rent weekly because a lot of these people
can't hold onto their money," Ayers said Friday night. "I've been using
the money to pay the bills."

Ayers said that he himself found an apartment for Soriano and her children, and that he had informed her of that last week.

If nothing else, this is a cautionary tale.

If you're a renter and you see a notice in the mailbox addressed to
Jane or John Doe, or Resident, and it refers to the residence you're
living in, read it. That's what Larry Glinzman of Community Legal
Services of Mid-Florida told the Daytona Beach News-Journal in 2008
when foreclosures were beginning to mushroom out of control.

Many renters assume the notice is for the homeowner, but it's
actually aimed at the renter. That's what happened to Soriano, who said
she saw something in the mailbox like that, but she assumed it belonged
to Ayers, who was the homeowner.

The problem is, Soriano and her neighbors at 563 Magnolia Ave., say
they had no clue that the Bank of New York Mellon owns the two-story
Victorian house she lived in, and the one-story bungalow that Kevin
Shea, Patricia Lloyd and Shirley Haley lived in.

None of the tenants interviewed had any idea their houses were in foreclosure, they said.

Glinzman said renters who live in a home that's in foreclosure and
has been taken by a bank or a mortgage company, don't have a lease. And
in most cases, banks and mortgage companies don't bother to tell
tenants that they've taken over.

Shea said a Volusia County sheriff's deputy posted a notice on his
house Monday morning that informed the residents to vacate the premises
within 24 hours.

"Nothing happened all week, though, until today," said Shea, who
walks with a cane. "These guys with green shirts came this morning and
just started putting everything out on the street."

Fellow tenant Haley, who has a broken tailbone and uses a walker,
said the men locked the doors and told them they "could not set foot on
either of the properties."

Soriano counted herself and her children among the lucky ones because they have a place to stay.

But for the others who paced back and forth on the street, or sat on
coolers with cigarettes dangling from their mouths, nothing was certain
except that it was hot and there were plenty of mosquitoes in the air.

Ayers said he feels badly for the tenants but there's not much more
he can do. "Do I feel a little guilty? Yes. But I told them all about
this a month ago."

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