The housing market is sending decidedly mixed signals to Americans: On the one hand, increases in new home construction are suggesting to analysts that the housing slump might finally be over, which could mean positive economic impacts outside of the housing construction sector. On the other hand, banks are sending increasing numbers of homes into foreclosure, putting the stability of many households at further risk.
What is for certain is that foreclosure has a serious, if often hidden, impact on renter households. Approximately 40% of families affected by foreclosure rent their homes. It used to be that these tenants could be evicted from their homes with as little as a few days notice, for no fault of their own. Thanks to the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009, when landlords go into foreclosure, bona fide tenants can now stay in their homes for the remainder of their lease or for at least 90 days. This legislation has prevented countless individuals and families from being uprooted from their homes and their lives.
There’s just one problem: The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act is set to expire in 2014. Foreclosure is clearly an ongoing problem, and NLIHC is among the many groups that believe this law should be ongoing as well.
Happily, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced legislation, the Permanently Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (H.R. 3619) that would make the the act a permanent law. H.R. 3619 would address the ongoing impact of the foreclosure crisis on renters by removing the sunset date, ensuring that renters have a basic level of federal protections irrespective of when their residence is foreclosed on. The legislation would also add a private right of action for tenants whose rights under the act have been violated. Giving the law some “teeth” will make it even more effective, and make it easier for renters to exercise their rights.
Right now, this bill needs cosponsors. We’re inviting organizations from across the country to sign on to a letter urging representatives to cosponsor the Permanently Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. You can read the letter and sign your organization on today.
The deadline to sign on is Friday, July 20, so we urge any organization that may be interested to take action quickly to support the bill. Renters in your community will thank you.