Foreclosure – Renters Have Rights

Let’s say that you have been renting a home for the last 3 years.  You have always paid your rent on time.  Today you come home and get your mail.  In it there is a letter from a mortgage company.  You open it and it says

This letter constitutes formal and final demand that you vacate the

premises within five days of the date this letter is delivered.

You would be shocked, wouldn’t you?  You might break down and cry.  You might have to sit down because you fear that you are going to pass out.

Some people renting homes, like you, have had this happen to them.  The owner of the home fell behind on their mortgage payments.  The mortgage company foreclosed and wanted the renter out.

Can a mortgage company evict a renter on such short notice?  In most instances the answer is no.  In May of 2009 congress passed the

Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act

This law says that if the homes where they live have been foreclosed, tenants have the right to remain in them for 90 days or until the end of the lease that they signed with the landlord.  There are two provisions a tenant needs to meet to qualify for this

The tenant has to have been renting the home for awhile.  If they moved in recently, they are not entitled to remain for 90 days or until the end of their lease.

The tenant has had to have paid their rent on time.

In those instances where a person has lived in the home for awhile on a month to month basis and does not have a lease, they can remain for 90 days following the foreclosure.

Why Would a Mortgage Company Try To Evict a Renter Early?

They will try to get away with it because they don’t want to be a landlord.

They are worried that the renter might call them any time of day or night when they have a problem.  The stove, air conditioner or furnace is not working.  It will be difficult for the mortgage company to get these fixed quickly especially in those areas where they have taken over very few homes like this.

They normally they don’t collect rents.  They have nothing in place to do this properly.

They would like to sell the home as quickly as possible.  With a renter living there, it will take them longer to sell.

It is to their advantage to try to have the renter move as soon as possible.  That removes all of these potential problems.

What do you do if you get a notice like this?  Call the mortgage company and let them know about the notice you have received and believe that it is in error.  Tell them how long you have lived in your home and when your most recent lease expires.  If you don’t have a lease and have been on a month to month basis, let them know that.  Tell them that under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act you understand that you have the right to stay for 90 days or until your lease expires.

I also recommend that you contact a local attorney if you can afford it.  If you can’t, contact a local consumer advocacy group.  Let them know about the notice you have received and ask for their help.  I suggest that you do this even if the mortgage company told you that the letter was sent in error.

Act quickly on this.  You don’t want the sheriff showing up at your home on the date indicated in the letter and telling you that they have to evict you.

If you are not a renter but a homeowner facing foreclosure, I encourage you to take the steps necessary to do all you can to save your home.  I recommend two things.  First, get a lawyer or a housing counselor from a local non-profit agency in your area to represent you.  Second, learn all you can about the foreclosure process and what you can do to save your home.  There is much information available on this.  It is not complex and you don’t have to have a legal mind to understand it.  I offer an EBook with much information on this.  If you want to learn more about my EBook, please click Stop Foreclosure.

Much Success,

Mark Elkins


  1. It would be very easy to believe that the foreclosure problems has caused the door of opportunity to be slammed entirely shut. However that is simply not the situation.

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