WaMu kicks out renters

March 31, 2008 9:15:48 AM PDT
Renters in the East Bay have been forced out of their homes because the owners of those homes have defaulted on their loans. One Oakland grandmother is facing eviction by Washington Mutual bank even though it's illegal in Oakland to force out a renter for any reason other than just cause.

Tony Pertie-Hall got a surprise when she opened her door one morning and found her landlord no longer owned the home.

"I didn't know until the three-day notice got put on the door," said Pertie-Hall, a renter.

She pays $550 dollars a month for this 3200 square foot home. She found out the landlord defaulted on his loan last October, since then she's been without hot water and this fallen tree has blocked her back yard. She notified WaMu, the new owners, about the needed repairs and only got eviction notices in return. The bank has sent three so far.

"At this point the last thing I got ten days ago, was another three day notice to leave," said Pertie-Hall.

Since 2002, when Oakland passed Prop EE, it's been illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant unless they have just cause and a foreclosure don't change that.

The East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley is trying to help Petri Hall and dozens of others keep their homes.

"Foreclosing agencies sue the owner for eviction the owner doesn't live there," said Sharon Djemal, from the East Bay Community Law Center.

Attorney Sharon Djemal says lawsuit foreclosure notices come to the home in the owner's name. The bank doesn't know there is a renter involved and immediately begins eviction procedures.

"So what a tenant needs to do is find a lawyer fill out the paperwork and say I want to be a party to the lawsuit," said Djemal.

Oakland doesn't know how many of these illegal renter evictions are going on, but City Attorney John Russo says he's put banks and eviction agencies on notice.

"We have a right as a city to bring action under the just cause law to prevent unfair evictions," said Russo.

We are triying to reach Ms Pitre-Hall and her advocates as well as countrywide to get there comments.

WaMu returned our calls to say that although their attorney's names appear on all the eviction notices that Petri-Hall received the loan belongs to Countrywide. They are checking on the discrepancy with their legal department.

They also released this statement to us: ""Researching this situation we have confirmed that Countrywide is the company that is servicing this loan, and have contacted them in an effort to help Ms.Pitre-Hall. We understand that Countrywide has put the eviction process on hold."
Gary Kishner
Washington Mutual


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