Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tenant Toolkit: Foreclosure

If you think the housing crisis of the past few years only affected homeowners, think again! As a renter, you didn't do anything to cause the mortgage meltdown that’s been ravaging the housing market, but that doesn’t mean that you're immune its effects. When your landlord defaults on their mortgage, it can leave you in an extremely vulnerable position. That’s why we’ve put together some essential resources to help you know where you stand and what you can do.

First off, it’s important to understand exactly what’s going on. If the property you’re renting has been foreclosed on, that means your landlord has failed to make their own payments on the home, putting his or her ownership status in jeopardy. A bank may step in and become the new owner of your rental, or the property may be put up for auction. In any case, that leaves you answering--and paying rent--to a new landlord, who may or may not have new designs that on the space that don’t include you as a tenant.

So where do you from there? Here are some links to keep handy in your tenant toolkit.

Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re renting a property that goes into foreclosure, it’s easy to feel like you’re in limbo. Get oriented with this brief FAQ and get some answers to basic questions before you start digging into nitty gritty details.

Foreclosure Laws
Did you know there are laws in place to help tenants in your situation? Banks, agents or other bad actors may try to misinform you in an effort to get you out of the residence. Knowledge of your rights is an indispensable weapon in your arsenal, so make sure you’re versed in foreclosure laws!

Foreclosure Action Guide
Our foreclosure action guide is a step-by-step plan that will lead you through the process of finding out your home’s foreclosure status and asserting your rights as best as possible. We also give detailed information about the best ways of dealing with your new landlord, bringing the actions of bad actors like banks and real estate agents to light, and organizing with other people in your community to protect the rights of other tenants in foreclosure situations.

Dealing with Realtors
New owners of foreclosed properties can be unscrupulous in their attempts to evict you. They may try to convince you that you don’t have rights, offer you deals to get you out quickly or even intimidate through letters, phone calls, or by showing up at odd hours. Don’t let them harass you out of your home. Fight back by learning how to best disarm their attempts.

Public Letter to Bank to Fight Eviction
It’s important for tenants to assert their rights as publicly as possible and in writing. This template gives you a good starting point for reaching out to banks and letting them know your intent to remain a renter. Official letters also signal that you’re serious about your rights and aren’t afraid to fight back!

Contact our Hotline
Finally, don’t forget our Foreclosure Hotline, which you can call at  1-888-495-8020. If you prefer, you can also fill out an online intake form and have a counselor call you back. Every foreclosure situation is unique, so don’t be afraid to speak directly with one of our volunteer counselors. They’re trained to help you asses your situation and strategize how to fight back and defend your rights.

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