Saturday, May 14, 2016

State AG To California Sheriffs Statewide: Stop Post-Foreclosure Evictions Of Home Occupants Not Named In Writ Of Possession Who Can Present "Claim Of Right To Possession" Form

From the Office of the California Attorney General:
  • Attorney General Kamala D. Harris [] issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement agencies to reinforce integral eviction procedures under the California Homeowner Bill of Rights.

    Under current California law, occupants of a foreclosed property who are not named in eviction documents - such as tenants - can present a “Claim of Right to Possession” form to temporarily stop the eviction process up to and including when the Sheriff comes to remove them from the property.

    Following the 2012 national mortgage settlement, Attorney General Harris sponsored the landmark California Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR), which took effect on January 1, 2013. The legislation package included additional protections for homeowners and tenants facing foreclosure. Although HBOR has been in effect since 2013, advocacy groups have reported cases in which Sheriffs proceed with the eviction process despite being presented with a Claim of Right to Possession form. This bulletin provides guidance for Sheriffs performing evictions following a foreclosure.

    “This bulletin clarifies integral protections and due process available under the Homeowner Bill of Rights,” said Attorney General Harris. “I sponsored this bill to provide a fair process for vulnerable Californians who are facing the loss of their homes. I thank the advocacy organizations for their tireless work on behalf of those affected by the foreclosure crisis."

    Prior to HBOR, occupants who were not named in an Unlawful Detainer Complaint were required to respond to a “Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession” within 10 days of service. This is no longer the case.

    Under HBOR, certain post-foreclosure occupants, such as tenants, can temporarily stop the eviction process by presenting a Claim of Right to Possession, including at the time of the lockout, to the Sheriff at the property.

    Once a claim is presented, the Sheriff should take no further action until notified by the court. The bulletin further instructs Sheriffs on how to respond when presented with a Claim of Right to Possession.