Law Gives Tenants Rights During Foreclosure

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.,None - Some of the biggest victims of foreclosures in Central Florida don't even own homes, they rent. Florida doesn't have any laws to protect renters if the homes go into foreclosure, but a new federal law does.

Aldean Green moved into her condominium on Goldenrod Road in January, so she was surprised when someone showed up at her door three weeks later and said the condo was in foreclosure.

"I was so distraught I actually cried when I got the papers. It's not easy to move for me and I just don't understand why this is happening," Green said.

It is the third home Green has rented that has gone into foreclosure.

In the past, once the foreclosure process was finished, a deputy sheriff would knock on the door. Once the tenant opened the door, the deputy sheriff would tell inform them that have 24 hours to get out.

But now there's a new federal law that gives tenants rights. Once the home is sold during a foreclosure sale, the new property owner has to either honor the tenant's current lease or give the tenant 90 days to get out.

"But if the new owner doesn't give them notice say for a month or two, they still have to give them another 90 days," Legal Aid Attorney Michael Resnick said.

However, if the new property owner plans to move into the home then an owner can terminate a lease early, but the renter still gets 90 days.

When it comes to security deposit, one attorney says that's uncharted territory. The federal law does not address that issue.

"I think new landlords are going to be quite upset if they are required to turn over security deposits that they didn't get," Resnick said.

According to Florida law, the landlord is required to give a tenant their security deposit within 30 days after the tenant moves out. Green is wondering if it will be the third security deposit she loses.

The 90-day federal law applies to any tenant who lives in a home that's been sold in a foreclosure sale after May 20, 2009.