On March 12 and 13 respectively, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced bills to permanently extend the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA). The law expired at the end of 2014.
The PTFA, enacted in 2009, was the only federal protection for renters living in foreclosed properties and provided most renters with the right to at least to 90 days’ notice before being required to move after foreclosure.
“The Act that protected [renters] previously expired in 2014, so tenants may now be evicted, inexplicably and inexcusably when the building owner faces foreclosure. As a matter of common sense and basic fairness, families should be spared life on the street when landlords shirk their obligations,” Senator Blumenthal said in a statement upon the Senate bill’s introduction.
“When a building owner falls into foreclosure, people who live in the property may be forced out—even if they’ve paid their rent in full and on time,” Mr. Ellison said. “It’s wrong that families face homelessness because the owner of the property where they live failed to make payments on time. The Permanently Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act ensures families have the time they need to find new housing.”
Housing advocates praised the introduction of the bills. “We are grateful to Senator Blumenthal and Representative Ellison for introducing this legislation to protect renters when their landlords’ properties go into foreclosure. We hope Congress acts swiftly to enact these protections,” said Sheila Crowley, NLIHC president and CEO, in a joint press release with the National Housing Law Project (NHLP) and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP).
“The PTFA provides critical protection to innocent renter families whose homes have been foreclosed. PTFA is an important tool, especially now, given the significant national shortage of rental housing,” said NHLP executive director Marcia Rosen.
"Without federal protections in place, many renters in foreclosed properties are vulnerable to summary eviction—and homelessness. In nearly half the states, these renters can be evicted with five days' notice or less, through no fault of their own," said NLCHP executive director Maria Foscarinis.
Today, only nine states and the District of Columbia have laws that match or exceed the provisions of the federal PTFA. Nineteen states have no specific protections for renters faced with eviction due to foreclosure, three states provide 60 days’ notice, eight states provide notice of three to thirty days before eviction, and eight states allow for the immediate eviction of renters. Information is not available on three states.
The Senate bill, S. 730, was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The House bill, H.R. 1354, was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.
Read the joint statement from Senator Blumenthal and Representative Ellison at http://ellison.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/sen-blumenthal-and-rep-ellison-introduce-the-permanently-protecting.
Read the joint statement from NLIHC, NHLP, and NLCHP at http://nlihc.org/press/releases/5659.
The analysis of existing state laws can be found at http://nhlp.org/node/1341.