Benchmark Institute is a training and performance development organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of legal services to low-income communities.
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June-July 2009
May 2009
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   January - March 2009
   July - December 2008
June-July 2009
   May 2009
April 2009
   January - March 2009
   July - December 2008

ACORN Housing Help - 1-888-409-3557

Outside of California, renters should call ACORN. They consider rent-to-owners, first time homebuyers, and will help anyone get to the right place for help.
Foreclosure Hotline for Tenants - 415.495.8012.  Tenants Together, California's Statewide Organization for Renters' Rights, has 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 agencies and officials
• Stand up to abusive and unfair conduct during the foreclosure process

Foreclosure to Homelessness 2009: the Forgotten Victims of the Subprime Crisis (June 26, 2009)
This survey “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 foreclosure:
• tended to be renters, not owners;
• whether renters or owners, did not seek legal advice in foreclosure proceedings; and
• most often stayed with family or friends or in emergency shelters.

Realty-Trac Renter Alert allows renters to research properties they’re thinking about renting and to monitor properties they’re already renting. Users may check status of property online at any time, receive monthly e-mail updates on property’s foreclosure status, Immediate notification when property is in foreclosure … for $24.95 per year.

Renters in 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. Download now!
Webinar and Webinar Slides are available here. 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
A new Web resource that provides information on policy solutions related to foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization.  It also includes strategies for preventing and responding to foreclosures, interactive online discussions, and tools that allow users to create customized data reports and maps to identify areas in which to target resources and efforts.  See sections on Help Owner and Renter Families Recover and
Protect Renters Living in Foreclosed Properties.

National Low Income Housing Coalition — Special Topic: Renters in Foreclosure
An up-to-date resource list on renters and lower income families in foreclosure.  Includes News and Research by State — summaries and links for articles, non-print media, and research publications that show the impact of the foreclosure crisis on renters and the implications for homelessness; federal legislation; and Congressional testimonies. contains a national data base where tenants from can find out whether the property owner is in foreclosure. The site owners have worked in the real estate industry started the web site because they “saw first hand the devastating effects on renters when the landlords could no longer afford the mortgage”.

Renters Need Protection against Foreclosure Too
This article suggests that Congress should fund community-based organizations to help families facing eviction because of foreclosure by: providing relocation assistance for first month’s rent, security deposit, and costs associated with moving; connecting renters to community-based organizations that can help them search for new housing, negotiate with landlords, and access community services in their new neighborhood; and providing school transportation assistance to families that have to move in the middle of a school year and do not want to change schools.

California Unlawful Detainer Defense Training 2008 - Practicing Law Institute On November 26, 2008, PLI sponsored a 3 hour program on defending tenants who are being evicted from foreclosed property:
      • Unlawful Detainer Practice Basics [01:08:11]
      • Foreclosures and Unfair Detainer Defense - Key Issues [01:01:35]
      • Illegal Lock-Outs and Foreclosure [01:00]
You must be a PLI member before viewing free programs. Hit Member Login and create an online account.  Then enter program title and you’re good to go.

Helping Low-Income Tenants Avoid Post-Foreclosure Evictions
On October 2, 2008, the Editorial Team of Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy sponsored a webinar on how to help renters living in properties subject to foreclosure. Judith Liben, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, talks about strategies that legal services programs are pursuing in Massachusetts, Maeve Elise Brown, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, gives a broad overview of strategies in California and Esme Caramello, Harvard Law School's WilmerHale Legal Services Center discusses § 8 tenant practice in Massachusetts.

Listen to the three presentations; download the Power Points and supplemental materials here.

WCLP Foreclosure-Based Eviction Packet for Advocates (February 2008)
Western Center on Law & Poverty discusses defenses for tenants living in foreclosed properties at For sample supporting points and authorities, go to These documents are intended for LSC- and IOLTA-funded and nonprofit housing organizations only.