Although foreclosures in California continue to wreak havoc on the lives of homeowners for the fifth year in a row, 1 million tenants have also been directly impacted by the crisis, according to Tenants Together, a statewide organization for renters’ rights.
More than 362,000 California homes are in foreclosure or seriously delinquent, and another 700,000 are at risk. But not all the properties are owner-occupied.
One in 15 renters has been an innocent victim of the housing meltdown, according to Tenants Together’s fourth annual report on California renters in the foreclosure crisis. The organization says that approximately 175,000 renters were affected in 2011, about 30,000 less than the year before. The peak year was 2008 when 225,000 renters were affected.
The report only covers those people renting a home at the time it was foreclosed on. It does not include homeowners who were foreclosed on and became renters themselves.
Renters can face utility shutoffs, eviction and loss of security deposits when the home they live in goes into foreclosure. Most foreclosures of rental properties involve eviction of renters and can happen on very short notice. According to the report, $1,000 “cash for keys” offers to tenants from a bank’s real estate agent are not unusual, but the vacate time can be as little as 10 days.