Foreclosure and renters, some help
Advice for renters whose homes are in foreclosure: Every Wednesday, personal finance writer Harriet Johnson brackey answers your questions about coping in this economic downturn. Submit your question in the form at the right.
Is there a program for renters of homes that are going into foreclosure that would enable the renter to stay?
You can stay, but in foreclosure, the question is, do you want to?
The landlord hasn’t been paying the mortgage and probably won’t be fixing anything that breaks. You have between eight and 12 months from the first foreclosure notice to when the house or condo is sold at a foreclosure auction, says attorney Karl Klein of The Klein Law Group in Miami. When it is sold, your lease terminates and you will probably be evicted, because the new owner will want to empty it out and try to sell it.
Your options are few. Freddie Mac has a program to rent foreclosed homes to tenants on a month-to-month basis. And some, not many, landlords are offering “cash for keys,” to get you to move out quickly so they can put the home on the market.
Worried that your financially stressed landlord won’t give you back your security deposit and last month’s rent?
Write a letter to the landlord saying that he has “broken the lease” by interrupting “your quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the premises,” says Broward attorney Charles L. Simon, who specializes in landlord-tenant law.
Tell him to apply your last month’s rent to your next monthly payment. Then apply your security deposit to the following month.
After those two months, you will resume paying your normal rent for as long as you stay.
(Bank that money. You can use it for your next deposit)
Do not stop paying your rent altogether – even if you don’t trust your landlord..
The landlord still has the right to evict you, as long as he controls the property.
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