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Public Statements

Protecting Tenants At Foreclosure Implementation

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


PROTECTING TENANTS AT FORECLOSURE IMPLEMENTATION -- (Senate - August 06, 2009)

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Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I was pleased to work with Senator Dodd to enact this legislation to help tenants affected by foreclosures.

No one in the Senate has worked harder to fight against the scourge of foreclosures than Chairman Dodd. As a former member of the Senate Banking Committee, I know Chairman Dodd has tirelessly fought to assist low and moderate-income families and to help tenants who need protections from foreclosures or unscrupulous landlords. Without his efforts, families in Connecticut and across the Nation would not have access to critically needed protections and many more American families would be facing foreclosure.

I agree with Chairman Dodd that it is important that persons and entities acquiring properties by foreclosure follow the law, and that tenant families obtain the benefits the law was intended to provide.

I also agree with Chairman Dodd's statement of the intent of the legislation. As the chairman stated, the law was intended to provide all bona fide tenants, who began renting prior to transfer of title by foreclosure of their rental property, be given at least 90 days' notice before being required to vacate the property. In addition, these bona fide tenants are allowed to remain in place for the remainder of any leases entered into prior to the transfer of title by foreclosure. These leases may be terminated earlier only if the property is transferred to someone who intends to reside in the property and only if the tenants are given at least 90 days' notice of the fact of such sale. Successors in interest to properties with section 8 housing choice voucher tenants automatically assume the obligations of the former owner under the Housing Assistance Payments contract.

Both the Federal Reserve and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have acted quickly to issue notifications to the entities that they regulate describing the law in the same way. Their notifications stated how regulated institutions are expected to comply with the terms of the act. These regulatory actions are crucial for the proper implementation of the act because foreclosing entities, who often wind up owning the properties after the foreclosure, have a responsibility to obey the law. Families in these precarious circumstances should not be forced individually to assert their rights under the law.

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