Why Eastside renters should worry about home foreclosures *

Eastside renters are being caught in the fallout from the real estate bust. This morning, councilman Eric Garcetti is scheduled to hold a press conference outside an Echo Park triplex whose owner had lost the property to the bank. The renters were pressured by the lender, Countrywide, to move out of their apartments and take a $2,000 relocation fee as part of a foreclosure sale. That sounds like a lot but it’s illegal. City rent control laws require landlords pay renters a $7,000 fee in such situations.

With foreclosures skyrocketing, more renters in Echo Park and across the city could find themselves in the same situation.

* More information from Julie Wong, Garcetti’s spokeswoman:

“In addition to the relocation amount that the renters were offered being too low, it’s also illegal to evict a tenant solely on the basis of a change of the building’s ownership. In other words, when banks become property owners because of a foreclosure, they can’t just simply evict the tenants for no reason.

There are specific reasons why a new owner would be able to evict a tenant, such as plans to turn the building into for-sale condos or plans to move a building manager into the unit. These would be considered “good faith” evictions and that’s when the tenants would also have to be
offered a minimum of $7,000 to relocate.

If any of your readers think they might be in the same situation as the tenants of the Scott Ave triplex, we urge them to contact the LA Housing Department ASAP – 866-557-RENT.”

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