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California extends Tenant Act protections to 2019

The California legislature passed another set of bills Thursday extending protections to tenants facing eviction.

The two bills (AB 2610 and SB 1473) are the latest of the Homeowner Bill of Rights package spearheaded by democrat lawmakers and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Under the bills, new owners of a rental property, who bought the home in foreclosure, must give tenants 90 days notice before starting an eviction and must honor any fixed-term leases entered into before the sale.

The federal Tenant Act granted similar protections originally set to expire at the end of 2012. The Dodd-Frank Act extended the legislation through 2014.

The California bills passed Thursday would extend the protections statewide through the end of 2019.

According to a statement from Harris’ office there were “incongruities within state law, and between state and federal law, regarding eviction proceedings following a foreclosure.” The bills passed Thursday will align the protections.

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who sponsored the assembly version of the bill, said the foreclosure crisis impacted more than 200,000 California renters in 2010 alone.

The original bills at the federal and state levels forced the REO industry to look closer at who is being evicted, a homeowner or a tenant. Lawsuits against brokers and banks have grown in recent years, forcing new training to handle an occupancy status.

And enforcement may be stepping up in California. Earlier in the week, state lawmakers passed a set of bills granting more powers to AG Harris to investigate mortgage fraud and other financial crimes.

A spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown declined to comment on whether the passed legislation will be signed.

“Tenants are unsuspecting victims in the mortgage and financial crisis,” Harris said. “They pay rent on time but may suddenly find themselves forced to move. These bills will give tenants important rights and fair treatment when they live in a rental that is under threat of foreclosure.”

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