Banks’ eviction policies related to the foreclosure crisis threaten housing security for renters throughout California, according to a report from Tenants Together, a California renters’ rights organization. In their report, released January 26, the organization estimates that tens of thousands of renters were displaced in 2010 because of eviction policies that are often in violation of tenants’ rights.
Tenants Together estimates that at least 38% of homes in foreclosure in 2010 were rentals and as a result, more than 204,000 California renters were directly affected by home foreclosure, with the majority losing their homes to eviction. In 2010, the foreclosure rate for apartment buildings with five or more units increased almost 30% from 2009. The report concludes that most of the tenants in foreclosed rental properties have been displaced from their homes.
According to the report, the displacement of tenants across California remains, first and foremost, a problem caused by banks, with an estimated 79% of foreclosed properties acquired by financial institutions. Tenants Together estimates that the banks forfeited over $755 million in rental income by evicting tenants. The evictions affect entire communities since the vacated buildings are often left in disrepair and subject communities to potential social and physical decay.
The report also reviews key tenant protection developments in 2010 including the clarification and extension of the 2009 Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act and a number of state measures. The report provides recommendations for future action such as making the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act permanent, passing more state and local laws to stop foreclosure-related evictions, and increasing the accountability of violators of tenant protection laws.
For more information on the Tenants Together study and the plight of renters in the foreclosure crisis visit http://www.tenantstogether.org/article.php?id=1808