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June-July 2009
May 2009
April 2009
   January - March 2009
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June-July 2009
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January - March 2009

Tenants Together Foreclosure Hotline for Tenants - 415.495.8012

March 12, 2009 — City sues major banks, local agents to stop illegal evictions at foreclosed properties
Oakland’s City Attorney has filed five law suits against JPMorgan Chase Bank, EMC Mortgage Corporation, Fidelity National Financial and others for violating Oakland’s Just Cause ordinance by evicting tenants without just cause and giving improper notice.  Read the complaints which seek injunctive relief and damages here.

See also City Attorney's Guideline for Tenants' Rights in Foreclosed Housing (PDF).

March 6, 2009 — Fannie Mae Extends Eviction Suspension Through March 31
Fannie Mae extends the suspension of all eviction proceedings through March 31, 2009 as it implements the Home Affordable Refinance and Home Affordable Modification initiatives as part of the Obama Administration's Making Home Affordable program.  A foreclosure sale may not occur on any Fannie Mae loan until the loan servicer verifies that the borrower is ineligible for a Home Affordable Modification and all other foreclosure prevention alternatives have been exhausted. contains materials for loan servicers, attorneys and others in the mortgage industry. For example, its requirements for Eviction Halt Extension, Announcement 09/05 are here.

March 5, 2009 — Freddie Mac Officially Launches REO Rental Initiative For Tenants, Owner-Occupants After Foreclosure; Freddie Mac Continues Suspension of Evictions Through April 1, 2009
Freddie Mac has launched its new REO Rental Initiative giving qualified tenants and former owners the option to lease their recently foreclosed properties on a month-to-month basis.  The REO Rental Initiative will be managed by HomeSteps®, Freddie Mac's national real estate unit, and implemented through several national property management firms.  It will continue to suspend all eviction actions until April 1, 2009 to ensure there is ample time for current occupants to learn about the options available to them under the new initiative.

March 2, 2009 — Senator Lowenthal Introduces SB 120  to Protect Tenants from Utility Shutoffs and to Protect Security Deposits

Sponsored by the Western Center on Law and Poverty, this bill protects tenants in foreclosure situations by preventing utility shut-offs and by ensuring the fair return of security deposits to tenants after foreclosures. This bill is virtually identical to AB 2586 cited by Foreclosure Watch July-December 2008, also sponsored by the Western Center on Law and Poverty, which passed the legislature this year, but was vetoed by the Governor.

February 25, 2009 — Without Just Cause: A 50-State Review of the (Lack of) Rights of Tenants in Foreclosure A Report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty & National Low Income Housing Coalition (PDF)
This report surveys foreclosed tenant rights in the states.  It also reports on a Greater Hartford Legal Aid challenge to tenant eviction under § 109(b) of Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) — TARP benefits — by a tenant in a Fannie Mae property.  She argued that the EESA requires Treasury to coordinate with the Fannie Mae to permit tenants to remain in their homes post-foreclosure and that the burden is on Fannie Mae to allege a good cause for the eviction.  A decision in that case is pending.  It may be possible to extend this reasoning, says the Report, to other federal entities or financial institutions that have availed themselves of TARP benefits under the EESA.

Watch “Renters in Crisis: Issues and Solutions” National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty & National Low Income Housing Coalition introduce “Without Just Cause” Report on C-Span and discuss the challenges facing renters who are living in foreclosed homes. At the beginning, a panelist presents very briefly useful facts about lack of rental housing and correlation with homelessness.

February 24, 2009 - Statewide Organization Launches Foreclosure Hotline for Tenants - 415.495.8012.  Tenants Together, California's Statewide Organization for Renters' Rights, is launching a new statewide hotline for tenants in foreclosure situations.  While foreclosures extinguish most leases, California tenants are generally entitled to a 60-day notice to vacate in foreclosure situations.  The 60-day notice requirement became law in July 2008, but many owners still do not comply with it.  In cities with local "just cause" eviction protections, such as Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Oakland and San Francisco, most tenants are not legally required to move as a result of a foreclosure, but many owners ignore this limitation and seek to evict anyway.

Hotline volunteers will assist in many ways, including helping tenants:

• Find out if a particular rental property is in foreclosure
• Identify the new owner after a foreclosure sale
• Learn about what to expect as the property goes through foreclosure
• Connect with local activists engaged in anti-eviction organizing
• Locate organizations that provide legal representation for tenants in foreclosures
• Keep utilities on and get repairs done in all stages of the foreclosure process
• Protect and recover security deposits
• Share tenant foreclosure stories with media, policymakers and the public
• Report illegal conduct to local law enforcement agencies and officials
• Stand up to abusive and unfair conduct during the foreclosure process

February 23, 2009 Security deposits should be treated as automatic liens   Data on unlawful withholding of security deposits is scarce, but anecdotal evidence indicates that it is a serious problem.  Authors argue that security deposits should be treated as automatic liens on the dwellings rented.  These "tenants' liens" would work like mechanics' liens and would be given first priority at foreclosure sale, ahead of the mortgage.  These liens would ensure that tenants are paid when the property is sold.  See SB 120 cited above (March 2).