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President Obama Signs Law Protecting Renters From Foreclosures

Thursday, June 25, 2009
On May 20, President Obama signed into law the "Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009."

(Washington, DC) - On May 20, President Obama signed into law Public Law No. 111-22, the “Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009.”  While this law does provide protection for the tenants of foreclosed property, nothing in the new federal law trumps stronger tenant protections provided in any state or local law, including the law of the District of Columbia.
Indeed, the law of the District of Columbia does contain stronger tenant protections than those in Public Law No. 111-22.  The key point is that NEITHER the end of a lease term NOR foreclosure is a valid basis for evicting any District tenant.  Whoever acquires the ownership interest in a foreclosed rental property becomes the housing provider and assumes ALL the obligations of a landlord under DC law.
If you have received a notice that the residence you rent has been placed in foreclosure, OTA recommends that you send a letter to the new owner, as identified in the notice, explaining that you are a tenant in the property and that you intend to remain a tenant in the property, and asking where you should send your rent.  Click on the links below for a document explaining your rights and a sample letter to the new landlord.

The new Public Law No. 111-22 is primarily aimed at preventing foreclosures on homeowners who are in jeopardy of mortgage default through loan modifications.  Tenants also benefit under the new law.  Click on the link below for a copy of Public Law No. 111-22.

Title VII sets forth a new national floor for “Protecting Tenants At Foreclosure.”  In a nutshell, it is now the law of the land that no tenant may be evicted due to foreclosure unless served with 90-day notice, or prior to the end of the lease term, whichever is later.
Public Law No. 111-22 also provides that a 90-day notice to vacate is required when the purchaser intends to use the property for his/her own personal occupancy.  The new Federal law and District law are the same on this point.  Also, section 8 contracts will now obligate successors-in-interest to continue any Section 8 tenancy, subject to the same 90-day-notice “personal occupancy” exemption.

For more information please contact the Office of the Tenant Advocate by telephone at (202) 719-6560 or in person at 941 North Capitol Street, NE, Suite 7400.