Benchmark Institute is a training and performance development
organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of
legal services to low-income communities.
Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009
Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 [Title VII of the Helping
Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 11122)] provides that in
any foreclosure on a federally related mortgage loan or on any dwelling
or residential real property, the party taking title to property
pursuant to the foreclosure assumes the property subject to the rights
of any bona fide tenant. Thus, most tenants have the right to stay in
their homes after foreclosure for 90 days or through their lease term.
The Act also provides similar protections to Housing Choice Voucher
holders. These provisions are effective May 20, 2009 through December
The law requires that new owners acquiring property through foreclosure
honor existing leases. Tenants with term leases and more than 90 days
remaining on their leases may not be evicted until the lease ends and
they have been given a 90-day notice. The exception is that a new owner
who seeks to occupy the unit as a primary residence may terminate the
lease with at least 90 days notice. In leases with less than 90 days
remaining in the term, month-to-month leases, and leases terminable at
will, a minimum of a 90-day notice is required.
Section 8 voucher tenants have additional protections: the owner who is
an immediate successor in interest at foreclosure takes subject to the
Section 8 voucher lease and the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments
In California per
Code of Civil Procedure §1161b, (see
Foreclosure Watch - Renters
July December 2008) most tenants are entitled to 60-days notice of
eviction after foreclosure. The new federal law increases this to 90
days. The law does not preempt other federal, state and local tenant
protections. Local laws in California cities prohibiting foreclosure
evictions remain in force.
Full text of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009
including Title VII, Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009
Foreclosure Toolkit Download this Toolkit NOW!
The provisions of Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 went
into effect immediately and are self-executing, so no federal agency
(such as HUD) is responsible for making them work. It is up to tenants
and advocates to make sure that tenants, landlords, public housing
authorities, courts, the legal community, and others involved in the
foreclosure process are aware of these new tenant rights.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the National Housing Law
Project have put together the Renters in Foreclosure Toolkit with great
materials that you can easily adapt including sample letters to tenants,
judges and PHAs.
Webinar and Webinar Slides are available
Banks Responsible for Refunding Security Deposits in California
Assembly Judiciary Committee Analysis (June 23, 2009) to
(Lowenthal) makes clear that banks must refund security deposits
pursuant to the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009. As
introduced, SB 120 sought to clarify that persons or entities acquiring
rental property as a result of foreclosure were "successors in interest"
within the meaning of certain landlord-tenant provisions. However,
Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 specifies that a
successor in interest takes foreclosed rental property subject to the
rights of any bona fide tenant. Because this federal law substantially
achieves what the sponsors originally sought, the bill has been amended
so that all that remains are the provisions relating to public utility
shut-offs that give tenants in single-family dwellings the same rights
that tenants in multi-unit dwellings already enjoy. The bill is
sponsored by the Western Center on Law & Poverty and supported by
several housing advocacy groups.
June 26, 2009 -
Foreclosure to Homelessness 2009: the Forgotten Victims of the Subprime
This survey contained in this Report makes clear that foreclosures are
a major factor in the increase of homelessness in the United States,
National Low Income
Housing Coalition (NLIHC) President Shelia Crowley said.
Key findings include that those experiencing homelessness due to
tended to be renters, not owners;
whether renters or owners, did not seek legal advice in foreclosure
most often stayed with family or friends or in emergency shelters.
June 26, 2009 -
Homes for the Homeless? NOW on PBS
What to do with foreclosed houses How about letting homeless families
move in? An innovative idea that's also illegal. NOW travels to Miami to
meet with Max Rameau, an advocate for the homeless. Rameau's
organization, Take Back the Land, identifies empty homes that are still
livable, and tries to find responsible families willing to take the
enormous legal risks of moving in.