About 60 percent of the people who live in Los Angeles rent their homes, according to the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCID). Even though renting is so prevalent in this area, many renters are unaware of their rights under the law.
Understanding renters' rights can be difficult, considering they vary from county to county and state to state. As such, if you are one of the many renters in Los Angeles, you may not know what to do if you learn that your landlord has failed to pay the mortgage and could lose the home in foreclosure.
You have rights
It can be easy to panic in this situation, but try to stay calm. Foreclosure and eviction actions don't happen overnight, so you have at least a little time to assess your options and familiarize yourself with your rights as a renter.
For example, know that if you rent in a rent-controlled building in Los Angeles, you cannot be evicted so that the landlord can sell the property or in cases of foreclosure, according to the HCID.
Outside of Los Angeles, renters still have rights in these situations, though they vary. Under federal law, however, renters either have until the end of a written lease (or 90 days without a written lease) to leave.
Getting solid answers
Whether your landlord has told you about foreclosure or you learned about it from a notice posted on your building, you probably have a lot of questions. Where do I send rent payments? Will I sign a new lease? What happens to my security deposit? How can I make sure my utilities don't get shut off?
It can be frustrating to find the answers you need to these questions, particularly if your landlord is not available. Even if your landlord is available, he or she may not necessarily be interested in explaining your rights. And you may not know who your new landlord will be for quite some time.
In these situations, legal assistance can be the best option to get the answers you need. Without support, you could wind up misled and making decisions based on incorrect information.