Renters Facing Eviction

August 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Nearly a dozen Fresno people had to make a tough decision on Monday: immediately leave their homes or face a very tough eviction process. The mortgage industry melt down is impacting renters all across the valley. When their landlords face foreclosure, tenants often get stuck in the middle and must move. On Monday, one family found themselves with no place to live.

Camille Cail said, "They gave us 14 days to be out of this apartment because it's going under foreclosure." Cail's entire life belongings are now in her front patio. She and four others lived in a one bedroom apartment in North Fresno. They were given a choice 14 days ago: leave by Monday and get $1,400 or get more time by facing eviction.

"How are you supposed to find a place to live in 14 days with only 14-hundred dollars? That's not even enough for first months rent, last month's rent and a U-haul," says Cail.

John Aznavoorian was hired by the bank to offer Cail what is known as "cash for keys". She and her neighbor got cash to quickly leave with the apartment in good condition. But the other option is harsh. Aznavoorian explained, "If they do not choose to take that relocation offer then it goes through the regular eviction process ? and they're left with no money and on their own."

William Leifer is an attorney specializing in landlord-tenant laws. He said property owners are required to give a 60 day eviction notice for cases like Cail's, but landlords are not required to offer cash for the renter's inconvenience.

"It may be cheaper for me as a landlord to give them some money to get out if it can be done quickly than to pay for and wait for the legal process to occur," says Leifer. He also said there's a problem in state laws that allow renters to skip paying rent when they're served with an eviction notice. But Leifer said renters need to be prepared in case the landlords fight to get that money.

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