Renter foreclosure

July 26, 2009 12:09:23 PM PDT
Bertha Aguilar calls this place in Kingsburg home, for now. This is her third residence in the past 6 months; she was evicted from the previous two places after her landlords lost the properties to foreclosure."We had 18 days, 18 days to move." said Bertha Aguilar, renter.

Up until December 2008, Bertha and her family rented this Sanger home. For two and a half years Bertha said she never missed a payment. So she never imagined anything was wrong.

"We gave her the rent on a Monday, and two days later, three days later, we had a notice on the door. So I called her, and she's like, "oh no, no, no." said Bertha Aguilar, renter.

Her landlords, never warned her they were going into foreclosure, and there's no law requiring them to.

"So they're collecting money until the foreclosure goes through, and you have to move." Said Bertha Aguilar, renter.

Not only that, Bertha never received her $900-dollar security deposit, a common problem for renters in foreclosed properties. Action news tried to contact her former landlord, Cesar Quintero, but our calls weren't returned.

Realtor Mits Matsunami had to break the bad news that the bank now owned the property and the Aguilars had to leave.

"Here I am, and unfortunately, they're the nicest people, very cooperative. And they didn't necessarily need to be in this situation. Are you seeing it more these days? We pretty much perform one almost every other day. So it's a lot of people being displaced. " Said Mits Matsunami, Mid State Realty

While a lot of those properties sit abandoned and empty. The renter's rights group: "Tenants Together" estimates in 2008 more than 225,000 California renters lived in properties that went through foreclosure.

In fact it also happened to Bertha's next door neighbor in Sanger, and again to Bertha at this home in Clovis.

And earlier this month renters in the Tuscany Villas in Northwest Fresno found out their condos are being foreclosed.

It's happening so often and to so many people, Central California legal assistance has been flooded with calls.

Housing Attorney Christina Skaf Hathaway said tenants have more rights now, thanks to President Obama's "Helping families save their homes" act.

Christina Skaf Hathaway, Central California Legal Services said "With this new act, it now gives them 90 days, that's an additional 30 days, which is great. Any kind of time that you can get to help you get back on your feet and find another apartment or housing is gonna very much helps you."

And in most cases, a lease offers protection from eviction. Tenants have a right to stay through the end of their lease.

Any eviction notice must be in writing.

Even if banks offer "Cash for keys" in exchange for moving out sooner. It's optional, there's no obligation to accept it.

And before you rent, check with your County's Assessor's Office for any notice of default on the property, that's one of the first steps in the foreclosure process and a definite red flag.

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