Obama administration has come up with a new law to provide protection to those who have rented space in foreclosed properties. This will help dwellers in apartments like Sonesta Circle and Sonesta Drive who got eviction notices.
The law known as Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 came into effect on May 20. According to this law, the lease will stay valid from one tenant to another provided he is up-to-date with the rental payments. If any one decides to buy the foreclosed property, he has no other option but to honor the lease contract. On expiry of the lease deed, a tenant will be given 90 days to move to a new home instead of the previous 30 days.
The Sonesta apartments tenants were not given even 30 days notice and that is not allowed. Robert Doggett, of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid says that he will have to know the date of foreclosures before he can judge if Sonesta tenants come under the new law.
John Sanchez, of The Property Management Co, said the agreement with the property owners is over. Without naming the owners he said that he does not know if a foreclosure has been filed. He provided eviction notices to tenants giving them the deadline of July 5 to shift from Sonesta. Doggett says that such a short notice for moving out is not even compliant with the previous state law. The deposits kept with the landlords will have to be given to the tenants anyway. Landlords are normally hesitant to refund deposits but that should not happen in this case.
Sanchez, however, maintains his intention is not to harass the tenants. Rather, he wants to help the tenants by moving them into a house which has a well-manicured lawn and other amenities. The rents are comparable to the ones they are paying now. Sanchez said that he has refunded the deposits of most tenants. The deposits of the remaining residents will be refunded too.
Sanchez also says that he is not aware of the law that has recently come into force. Doggett echoes not many are aware of this law. According to this law, tenants can be evicted only if the buyer wants to occupy the entire space as his home but this is rarely the case with apartments. Still tenants can take the help of lawyers and present a copy of the Federal law at the eviction hearing.