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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Legislature Approves Bills to Protect Tenants

Thursday, May 31, 2012
Contact: (415) 703-5837

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced two bills to help tenants who suddenly find themselves with the possibility of being displaced because of a foreclosure passed the Assembly and Senate. The bills are part of the Attorney General’s proposed California Homeowner Bill of Rights.

Assembly Bill 2610 (Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley) and Senate Bill 1473 (Senator Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley) will require purchasers of foreclosed homes to give tenants at least 90 days before starting eviction proceedings.

“Tenants are unsuspecting victims in the mortgage and financial crisis,” said Attorney General Harris. “They pay rent on time but may suddenly find themselves forced to move. These bills will give tenants important rights and fair treatment when they live in a rental that is under threat of foreclosure.”

Under the bills, if the tenant has a fixed-term lease, the new owner must honor the lease unless the owner demonstrates that certain exceptions intended to prevent fraudulent leases apply.

Currently, there are incongruities within state law, and between state and federal law, regarding eviction proceedings following a foreclosure. AB 2610 and SB 1473 would correct these confusing laws. All provisions in the bill will remain in effect until December 31, 2019.

“Too often, California tenants are the unwitting victims when a home they are renting is foreclosed on,” said Senator Hancock. “The inconsistency between state and federal law has left renters confused and, at times, misled about their legal protections. This bill provides common sense solutions to help protect California citizens caught in the crossfire of the mortgage foreclosure crisis.”

“The mortgage crisis and resulting foreclosures have directly impacted more than 200,000 California renters in 2010 alone,” said Assemblymember Skinner. “The Renters’ Right Act of 2012 protects families in rental housing by providing basic protections and legal rights in the face of unjust foreclosure-related evictions.”

SB 1473 passed the Senate on a 25 to 13 vote and AB 2610 passed the Assembly on a 54 to 13 vote.

The bills are part of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights. Other portions of the package are being considered in a Joint Legislative Conference Committee, including elements to restrict unnecessary foreclosures and protect the due process rights of borrowers and homeowners.

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights also includes:

DUE PROCESS AND FORECLOSURE REDUCTION ACT: SB 900 (Leno) & AB 278 (Eng). These bills are being considered by a Joint Legislative Conference Committee.

BLIGHT PREVENTION LEGISLATION: AB 2314 (Carter) & SB 1472 (Pavley and DeSaulnier). These bills have passed the Assembly and Senate, respectively, and now will be heard in the other house.

GRAND JURY LEGISLATION: AB 1763 (Davis) & SB 1474 (Hancock). These bills have passed the Assembly and Senate, respectively, and will now be heard in the other house.

AG ENFORCEMENT LEGISLATION: AB 1950 (Davis). This bill passed the Assembly, and will now be heard in the Senate.

For more information on the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, go to www.oag.ca.gov

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