Press Release

Senate Passes Kerry-Gillibrand Amendment to Protect Renters in Foreclosure Crisis

May 6, 2009

Washington, D.C. – An amendment by Senators John Kerry and Kirsten Gillibrand to protect renters
from being thrown out of their homes after a foreclosure passed the Senate
today as part of the larger housing bill, the Help Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 (S. 896.)  S. Amdt.
1036, the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, ensures that tenants
and families nationwide have at least 90 days to find their next home if they
are renting in a building that is foreclosed upon.

“More than 30,000 renters
across New York, who dutifully pay their rent on time each month, may face
eviction because they live in a building that is about to be foreclosed,” said
Sen. Gillibrand.  “These tenants have almost no rights when a bank seizes
their home.  Families without the means to find temporary housing or move
into another unit can be kicked onto the streets, because their landlord failed
to meet his or her obligation to pay.  This is wrong and I am proud to
partner with my colleagues to pass new protections for these families.”

“Renters are
blameless victims in the housing crisis,” said Sen. Kerry, who has previously
introduced legislation to protect military families facing foreclosure. 
“Tenants who do no wrong shouldn’t be evicted without notice and without the
necessary time to make alternative living arrangements.  This victory will prevent a spike in vacant properties in our communities and
give families who don’t have the means to find another place a chance to plan.”

Renters often
have no idea their home is about to be foreclosed upon.  Depending on
state law, renters in foreclosed properties may be evicted with limited notice,
forcing families to move quickly and increasing the number of vacant properties
in neighborhoods.  Low-income renters who live in properties subject to
foreclosure are lack the resources necessary to easily relocate.

The Protecting
Tenants at Foreclosure Act states that tenants in any federally related
mortgage loan (as determined under Section 3 of the Real Estate Settlement
Procedures Act) or any dwelling or residential real property with a lease have
a right to remain in the unit until the end of the existing lease.  If a
purchaser intends to use the property as a primary residence, the lease may be
terminated and the tenant must receive 90 days notice to vacate; and tenants
without a lease or with a lease terminable at will under state law must receive
90 days notice to vacate.

The amendment is cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Development Committee
Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), and Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Richard
Durbin (D-IL), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

“No state in the nation feels
the pain of the foreclosure crisis as intensely as Nevada,” said Majority
Leader Reid. “The most recent statistics show that one in every 27 Nevada homes
is in some stage of the foreclosure process. Homeowners suffer deeply as they
struggle to keep their houses, but renters often face sudden and unjustified
loss of the roofs over their heads because of foreclosure as well. Those
without the money to pick up and move unexpectedly suffer the greatest trauma,
and this legislation provides them deserved and overdue protections.”

“A tidal wave of foreclosures
is sweeping across the country and my home state of Connecticut, leaving
countless victims in its wake, including many renters who are facing eviction
through no fault of their own,” said Chairman Dodd.  “This measure will help
defend the hard-working tenants who pay their rent on time and are being
unfairly forced out of their homes because their landlord is in
foreclosure.  Just as we have established protections for borrowers who
fell prey to predatory lending, we must also protect these often-overlooked
victims of the foreclosure crisis.”

“This amendment
offers important protections to tenants who, through no fault of their own, are
being forced out of their homes during this foreclosure crisis,” said Sen.
Kennedy.  “I commend Senator Kerry for offering this amendment, and I’m
hopeful that it will be approved.”

“Renters have been the
forgotten victims of the housing crisis,” said Sen. Merkley.  “It is
simply unfair that these families, who followed the rules and who may have
lived in their houses and apartments for years, should be forced to leave their
homes by circumstances beyond their control.  I applaud Senator Kerry for
bringing this issue to light and fighting for these innocent victims of the
foreclosure crisis.”