Web Feature | SoCal Val

Renters - Check Out Your Landlord

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I felt so bad for Keith Woodard, the tenant whose landlord didn’t pay the mortgage. Keith was evicted, lost his security deposit and had to leave behind thousands of dollars of appliances that he bought with his own money. (No place to store them.)

So whether you are a long-time tenant, or are about to rent a place don’t be naïve. Check out your landlord. Is he/she in foreclosure or close to foreclosure? It’s not hard to find out. You just have to know the steps.

1. Go on-line to the county tax collector’s website where the property is. Put in the address and see if there are any back taxes owed. Unpaid taxes are a sign of financial trouble.

2. Go the website of the Clerk/Recorder’s office of the county where the property is. Go to the grantor/grantee search index. Put it the landlord’s name. There you will find a list of documents that pertain to him/her. Look for “NT Trustee Sale.” That means Notice of Trustee Sale. Not a good thing. Also bad is “Notice of Default”. This precedes an official foreclosure.

3. The Fair Housing Council can also help you if the on-line stuff is too confusing. Their number is 800-698-3247.

4. Also, if it turns out your landlord is in trouble and you are getting evicted, tenants in California must be given 30 days notice at least. And if you are offered a cash for keys option, negotiate hard to cover your lost security deposit and last month’s rent.

5. And don’t pay any more in advance than you absolutely have to. One couple leased a home in Orange County with the intention to buy it. They pre-paid their rent 18 months in advance! So when their landlord lost the house, and the couple was evicted and they lost $21,000. Yikes!

Also - there is a website where you can put in your address and see if your landlord is in foreclosure. It’s at rentalforeclosure.com. However, don’t take this as the final word. By the time your landlord is in foreclosure, it may be too late for you.

Related Resources:
Renters in Foreclosure

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Dear Val,
You know, these so-called 'Fair Housing Councils" are not always what they claim to be. I think, at least once, that the public should here about the dark side of these 'private corporation' who operate as a sort of, condoned, secret housing police force. One which has no oversight.
Please visit my website at www.stategonecrazy.com and please read the Orange County Register Editorial; The Tyranny of the Bias Bloodhounds. You can also review, 2 LA Times articles by Dana Parsons and a feature, front page story in the OCR by investigative reporter, Brian Joseph. Ms. Zavala, I have been embroiled in this for 2 1/2 years. Trust me, I have learned a lot about this stewing - HUD and local goverment funded - shakedown racket that has been going on right under every ones noses for years, until now. If you're ever curious, contact me. Daniel Bader, 949-933-6916

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Unfortunately, the site you mention for renters to check the foreclosure status of their home doesn't appear to be maintained any more. However, a there is a site that can check not only the foreclosure status, but also verify the ownership to help renters avoid scams, and do a background check on the owner. It's called CheckYourLandlord.com.

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I would also recommend renters check online to determine their landlord's foreclosure status from month to month. If the foreclosure is detected early, they can approach the landlord to discuss the matter proactively, rather than waiting for the last minute when things might be very chaotic. Renters can check their landlord's foreclosure status FREE online in the USA at http://www.nyhousingcenter.com