Friday, September 26, 2008

D.C.: The Place to Be for Tenants of Foreclosed Buildings

In Washington, D.C., a story Washington City Paper's housing blog serves as a reminder that, in the District, tenants in foreclosed homes have strong protections:
  • The District has some of the strongest foreclosure-protection laws in the country, according to Joel Cohn, Legislative Director for the [D.C.] Office of the Tenant Advocate. Under D.C. law, there are specific reasons why a tenant can be evicted.

  • "Those are the exclusive reasons in the District," says Cohn "and foreclosure isn't one of them." They [can] maintain their tenancy on exactly the same terms as before … Tenants have the right to stay as long as they pay rent. They also can demand that the landlord fix any housing code violations.

  • From May to July of this year, tenants from ten different foreclosed D.C. properties contacted Cohn's office asking about their rights. It's a smart call to make: Banks commonly tell unsuspecting tenants that they have to move out, in violation of D.C. statute, says Cohn. Some tenants seeking legal aid have already left their buildings, and in that case, it's usually too late do anything.

  • "The name of the game is getting notice to the bank, which might be ignorant in good faith, though it's up to the bank's attorneys to know the local housing laws," says Cohn. "So, I don't think there is such a thing as good faith failure to know the law."

For more, see D.C.: The Place to Be for Tenants of Foreclosed Buildings.

If you are a tenant in a foreclosed home located in the District of Columbia, see Office of the Tenant Advocate: DC Law Protects Tenants During Foreclosures for information on how to deal with the threat of eviction. equity skimming unwittingly digamma