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How foreclosure hurts Florida renters too

We speak frequently in this blog about Florida’s continuing foreclosure problem, which is improving but still worse than in most of the rest of country. When we discuss foreclosure, we usually focus on its impact on homeowners, who must leave their houses and find a new place to live with a severely impacted credit rating.

Less often considered are renters. Though they do not own the property, a foreclosure on someone’s rental unit likely also means that he or she will be kicked out. All because the property’s owner allegedly fell behind on the mortgage, which the renter probably had no control over.

It is difficult to say how many renters have been affected by foreclosure, according to the Miami Herald. However, one estimate says that 1 in 87 homes in South Florida was in foreclosure in the first quarter of 2015.

Not only do renters have little control over a possible foreclosure of their homes, they often get little to no notice, though they are legally entitled to notice of foreclosure or sale. If the landlord does not respect this right, tenants may have days -- or less -- to pack up and find new living quarters before the bank seizes their home.

Renters are not a party to a foreclosure case, though they have legal rights. A new state law gives tenants at least 30 days after a rental property is sold to move out. Formerly, federal law gave renters at least 90 days or the balance of the lease after a sale or foreclosure. But that law expired at the end of 2014.

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