Industry data suggests by the end of 2010, more than 5 million homes had been foreclosed as a result of the recent housing crisis, and some anticipate another 8 million to 10 million more foreclosures will make their way through the pipeline over the next few years.[IMAGE]
However, as the ""National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP)"":http://www.nlchp.org/ points out, this is only part of the picture. About 20 percent of all foreclosed properties have been rental properties, according to a recent NLCHP report.
In fact, about 40 percent of all families evicted in foreclosure are renters not owners, according to NLCHP.
""Renters are innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire of the foreclosure crisis, becoming vulnerable to homelessness through no fault of their own,"" NLCHP stated in its report, ""_Eviction (Without) Notice: Renters and the Foreclosure Crisis._"":http://www.nlchp.org/content/pubs/12.17.12%20Eviction%20Without%20Notice%20FINAL.pdf[COLUMN_BREAK]
In 2009, the federal government enacted the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA), which is set to expire at the end of 2014.
Under PTFA, tenants are allowed to continue living in their rental properties throughout the duration of their lease, even if their rental property is foreclosed. If a tenant has a short-term lease or no lease, the new property owner must give a 90-day notice to all tenants before eviction.
NLCHP, however, found evidence that ""violations of the PTFA are widespread across the country,"" and tenants are often uniformed about the law protecting them.
Often, new property owners fail to communicate with tenants or provide ""illegal, misleading, or inaccurate written notices,"" according to an NLCHP survey.
At times new property owners fail to maintain the property for tenants, and NLCHP also found instances of ""harassment from real estate agents, law firms, or bank representatives.""
As a result of its findings, NLCHP recommends congress appoint one federal agency to enforce PTFA. The group also advises bank regulators to monitor compliance with the law to ensure tenants are protected.
NLCHP also encourages states to enact increased protections for renters when their landlord faces foreclosure.
Furthermore, as NLCHP expects the foreclosure crisis to continue for the next several years, the group advises congress to make PTFA a permanent law, rather than a temporary one.