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April 14, 2009

Bill aimed at renters fails to pass

You may recall if you read this fair housing Q&A that the General Assembly was considering a bill to help tenants whose landlords get foreclosed on. HB 733 proposed that any lease would continue in force for three months after the foreclosure, unless it expired earlier. But that bill is dead, as The Daily Record reports.

The foreclosure bill that did pass was HB 640, which "allows local governments to pass ordinances requiring lenders to report foreclosure filings to local governments within five days of filing them, instead of two weeks before evicting tenants," the Daily Record says.

There's a delicate balance between protecting the rights of tenants in a foreclosure situation -- if they were paying their rent, they're innocent victims -- and the rights of lenders, who have repeatedly said they don't want to be landlords.

What do you think is the right balance?

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 11:05 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Renting, The foreclosure mess


While it may not be fair to either the lender or the tenant when a bankruptcy occurs, the lender is certainly in a better position to bear the risk. The bill only required 3 months of extension, surely the lender can manage the property for 3 months and still make a sale happen.

The miinimum amount of notice to renters would be that normally required by law which in many cases (I'm not sure about Baltimore) bars a new owner from eviting a tenant of the previous owner but requires the new owner to either keep the tenant or give them more than ample time to find new housing. Why should it be different because a bank takes ownership?

We all know that Realtors' golden rule is "Now is a good time to buy."

Today, Long and Foster announced plans to pay mortgages for six months if the buyer becomes unemployed, and in doing so gave us this corollary to the golden rule as a souvenir of the times we're in:
"Although this is a great time to buy residential real estate for many, there's still a lot to consider," said Mary K. Weddle, executive vice president of The Long & Foster Cos

What happens if a bank forecloses on a rental without a lead certificate? If we force banks to continue renting they are breaking the law and risk of lead lawsuits the day they take over the property.

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

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