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Exploring Renters’ Rights With Free Help

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Foreclosures don’t just hurt the homeowner. In Baltimore alone, hundreds of renters are affected, too. So what do they do?

Andrea Fujii reports there is free help out there for tenants living in foreclosed homes.

More than 4,500 Baltimore homeowners entered foreclosure last year. Of those, nearly 2,000 had tenants.

“We’re talking about a lot of people that have a lot of rights that they need to be aware of,” Doug Gansler, Maryland Attorney General, said.

Renters have rights. That’s the message of a new campaign by the Public Justice Center and Baltimore Homeownership Preservation Coalition.

Under a new federal law, tenants have at least 90 days to leave or until the lease expires and they must receive three separate notices.

“It is confusing, and many times renters won’t know what’s going on. If they call us, we can help them figure it out,” Matthew Hill, Public Justice Center, said.

Some homeowners whose properties are worth less than their mortgage stop paying altogether, leaving their renters out of luck.

“They pay the rent on time and they don’t know why the landlord is not using that money to pay the mortgage,” Hill said.

The hope is to keep families in their homes by informing them of their rights.

“We want people to hold on to that opportunity, to stay in their house as long as they can.” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D) Maryland.

Even after tenants get the foreclosure notice, they must continue to pay rent.

To learn how to get free help click here or call 410-625-9409.

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