While callers to our Tenant Foreclosure Hotline routinely report being harassed and mislead by agents of banks acquiring foreclosed properties into vacating their homes prematurely, some of the most atrocious violations also come at the hands of private investors.
In a recent interview with KGET Channel 17, NBC-Bakersfield, Frank St. Clair, the managing broker for the Bakersfield-based Bella Vista Real Estate, LLC stated that he was moving forward with the post-foreclosure eviction of a tenant with a long-term lease. Mr. St. Clair denied that his tenants are protected by the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA), stating that the federal law “pertains to the banks that are the foreclosing entity. I am not the foreclosing entity, I’m a third party and therefore I don’t have to honor a lease.”
Mr. St. Clair’s position is 100% wrong. The PTFA applies to both banks and private investors, stating that “in case of foreclosure…any immediate successor in interest in such property pursuant to the foreclosure shall assume such interest subject to” the existing lease. Bella Vista Real Estate, LLC is clearly subject to the PTFA, having acquired at least 30 foreclosed properties at trustee sale over the last nine months.
Unfortunately, Mr. St. Clair’s callous, above-the-law attitude is commonplace among private investors acquiring foreclosed properties. Tenants Together will continue to monitor these private investors and take the necessary steps to assure their compliance with tenant-protection laws.