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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 27 May 2009

The Oregon House on Monday passed legislation protecting renters who are living in foreclosed properties, ensuring that they cannot be evicted from the property until it is sold and ensuring that their security deposit and other up-front funds are protected.  The measure passed 59-0 and will now head back to the Senate for concurrence in House amendments.

Under current law, according to State Rep. Carolyn Tomei, renters living in foreclosed properties have no rights and can be immediately evicted from the property. Instead, Senate Bill 952-B says renters can remain in the residence for the remainder of their lease or 60 days after the sale, whichever comes first. If the new purchaser intends to live in the dwelling, then the renter has 30 days to move.

"Renters are often the unintended victims of foreclosures, particularly those living in low-income areas," said Tomei (D-Milwaukie).  "Under current law if a property they are renting goes into foreclosure they can just be tossed out with little warning or advance notice.  This law gives them a fair and practical set of rights to make sure we do not increase our homelessness problem even further."

The bill also ensures that renters will get advance notification of pending foreclosures and ensures that their up-front rental payments and security deposits are protected and can be used to pay rent.

 "These are legitimate rental deals where the renter is paying on time and meeting contractual obligations," said Tomei. "We have again crafted legislation that satisfies owners, renters and financial institutions in our effort to seek a fair and balanced solution to the problem."

Speaker Dave Hunt said efforts to protect families struggling in today's global economic recession have been a key priority of the Oregon House this session.

"From improving access to health care, creating thousands of new jobs and ensuring that those struggling families have tools and resources to recover, we are committed to helping Oregonians through these difficult times. This bill is another example of a fair and balanced solution to a new problem that has arisen because of the rapid rate of foreclosures in our state," said Hunt (D-Clackamas County). "We'll make it through this recession with common sense and concern for our neighbors. This is one of those bills that will help unintended victims of foreclosure."

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