Foreclosures catch many renters unaware

Oct. 27, 2008 at 10:43 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Roughly a third of the U.S. properties currently involved in foreclosure proceedings are not owner-occupied, leaving many renters at risk, advocates said.

"They're the ones who are paying their rent and the first they hear about the foreclosure is when the sheriff is at the door, said state Rep. Mike Foley, D-Ohio.

RealtyTrac, an industry research group, said 31 percent of the 589,190 U.S. properties currently involved in foreclosure proceedings were not owner-occupied, USA Today reported Monday.

California state legislators passed a bill this summer giving 60 days notice to renters before they are evicted from foreclosed properties. In Ohio, Foley is sponsoring a bill to help renters, the newspaper said.

In Illinois, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart stopped serving evictions on foreclosed properties after deputies found renters living on the properties instead of the owners who were named on the eviction notices.

The evictions resumed after judges assured Dart tenants were entitled to 120 days notice before being forced to leave.

Not everyone applauded Dart's stance. The Illinois Mortgage Bankers Association said loans would slow if lenders weren't assured they could reclaim foreclosed properties, the newspaper said.

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