Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 1, 2009


Washington Independent - While the plight of homeowners affected by the real estate meltdown has been well-documented, renters too often fall under the radar. Although tenants' advocacy groups credit recently passed national legislation for including some protections, they charge that the new law only scratches the surface.

The number of renters being forced from their homes is on the rise as foreclosures increase. "We've seen a mass increase. I would say it's up by 50 percent," said Arlene Bradley, housing advocacy director of Housing Rights Inc. in Berkeley, Calif., a group that provides legal advice and counseling to renters in the greater San Francisco Bay area.

Prior to the new legislation that went into effect last month, tenants were at the mercy of the lender, and the results could be very disruptive. Renters could be forced from their homes with a mere five days' notice in the state of Arizona, said William Deegan, executive director of the Phoenix-based American Tenants Association.

Under the new rule, which was passed May 20 and took effect immediately, an addendum to a broader housing bill addressing the foreclosure crisis, a lender who takes possession of a property or a new owner who buys the building at auction has to let a tenant stay for 90 days or until their lease is up. . .

While those who work with renters across the country say the legislation is a vast improvement over the earlier status quo, they also call the law incomplete. Too often, renters are at the mercy of courts and a financial system ill-equipped to deal with their particular challenges. For one thing, a tenant is still more likely than not to lose his or her security deposit if the owner goes into foreclosure


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One year leases in NY just went up another $30. And Bloomberg continues to buy the vote. . .

July 1, 2009 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who gets their deposit back? Nobody. That's why they call it asshole tax.

July 2, 2009 4:21 AM  

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