Possible expiration of foreclosure law puts renters at risk (2)
In our last blog post, we wrote about the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, or PTFA, which is scheduled to expire at the end of 2014 unless Congress takes action to extend it.
The statistics alone seem to indicate that extension of the law is a no-brainer:
- The number of people who rent homes in the U.S. has increased by more than 5 million since 2000.
- The number of renters affected by foreclosure has tripled in the last three years.
- Rental properties currently constitute an estimated 20 percent of all home foreclosures.
- Forty percent of U.S. families who are facing eviction as a result of foreclosure are renters.
- Homelessness has increased by 16 percent among families in Atlanta and other U.S. cities.
If that extension is granted, however, it appears that more might need to be done to inform renters of the law’s protections and guarantees in order to protect them from dishonest landlords, eviction and homelessness. In a recent survey of 156 renters, the majority were unaware of their rights under the foreclosure law.
In a more alarming finding, the study reports that many new homeowners who purchased foreclosed properties failed to determine whether the home was occupied by renters who were protected under the PTFA. This caused serious harm to renters, many of whom were unaware that their home had even been sold until they were physically locked out of it.
In sum, while it is clear that the PTFA provides valuable protection to renters, there is still work to be done to protect them from foreclosures caused by circumstances that are far out of their control.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Renters At Risk In Foreclosure Crisis Rely On Short-Term Federal Law,” Lucia Graves, Dec. 17, 2012