My predatory renting saga continues…
As many of my readers know, I am a renter in foreclosure. Meaning, the home I am leasing for my family and I is in foreclosure.
My landlord, Sherry Mc Coy (who happens to be a California Realtor) is taking my hard earned money that I pay on time every month and she is DEFINITLEY NOT paying Washington Mutual (her mortgage company).
Welcome to what I have dubbed, “predatory renting” and have been writing about for about the last year and a half (first blog post in Nov. 2007). AKA “Rent Skimming.”
Real estate flippers and investors are apparently renting their homes, not paying their mortgage and skipping out of town with their renter’s cash and security deposits. Leaving unsuspecting tenants to suffer and be kicked out on the street, often with only 72 hours to vacate and move their belongings.
Rental scams involving properties in the foreclosure process are rampant at present. In these scams, owners facing foreclosure will offer renters lease agreements for less than market rents with a rental term that exceeds the time the property will be in the name of the buyer. Many of these renters received foreclosure notices on their doorstep less than a month before homes are sold at auction. The victims of these rental scams often lose not only their home but also their initial deposit.
How do I know this about my home that I am renting?
Well, the field representatives who happen to be my landlords colleagues (ex-Realtors) that work for WAMU come knock on my door once per month and ask me if I am going to make a payment. Apparently they think I am Mr. Mc Coy and this is his primary residence.
In case my readers do not know what that means, it most likely means that the Mc Coys possibly committed mortgage fraud when they purchased this lovely home in Corona by stating on their loan applications that this is their primary residence.
This week the interaction between my predatory renting landlord/Realtor reached the boiling point.
I am flat out refusing to keep paying this woman who I feel is rent skimming and operating a fraudulent rental business (AKA rent ponzi scheme). I know she has 3 other properties that she may be doing this on. It’s sick and I needed to make a stand against her.
I told my landlord/Realtor that I was going to start paying the rent into a neutral rent “escrow” account, and the moment they could provide me official documentation showing the foreclosure had been terminated, I would turn over immediately, all funds accumulated in that escrow account. The landlord went ballistic, calling me multiple times after I hung up on her.
She now has threatened me with a 3-day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.
I again told her that she will no longer recieve my money until she can prove she is paying WAMU and that she can prove that she is not in forerclosure. She needs to understand this is now about self and family preservation as well as doing what is right. I am going to protect my family and self and I will do what is right.
What is right to me is standing up against this scam and woman. I guess what is right to her is taking my hard earned money under the presumption she is paying the mortgage and living off the money. What I call a scam, she may feel is her “legal” right and her only way to survive (since real estate sales have dried up) is to scam me and WAMU. Plain and simple.
Later in the day I received a call from a wanna be lawyer/legal consulting firm. The guy tried to strong arm me by saying I have no rights, no case and I need to pay. Apparantely they will have another thing coming when I get that 3 day pay or quit notice.
I will fight for what is right and I will document this here on my blog. They are dealing with a man who is unafraid of their legal threats and deals with these type of scammers EVERYDAY!
My rights in California:
Even if your city has no specific legal protections in place, understand that the State of California has a law, signed by Gov. Schwarzennegger last July, which requires the foreclosing lender to provide at least 60-days notice to move to the tenants in occupation, BEFORE they are allowed to start a legal eviction.
If your property is in foreclosure:
You need to find out when the action started, and determine about how much time remains before the foreclosure concludes. You might consider doing as I am doing, and refusing to turn the rent money over to the landlord’s greedy, grasping hands.
Rather accumulate a move-out fund by depositing the rent into a rent escrow account that you can open in 15 minutes at your favorite bank.
With the economy and housing market in the horrendous shape they’re in, there’s more than enough pain and misery to go around. By taking proactive steps to protect your family’s ability to maintain a roof over your heads, you should be able to remain in the property for another couple or three months, and in that time, hopefully, locate and pay for more secure new housing.
PLEASE BEWARE OF PREDATORY LANDLORDS!
Moe’s past blog posts on predatory renting:
November 10, 2008
“I love LA!” Well, at least their new policies in regards to tenant rights of recently foreclosed homes. However, let me disclose that I am not from Los Angeles, I …
October 9, 2008
In an op-ed piece in the Chicago Sun-Times explaining his decision, Sheriff Tom Dart said that “too many times,” his deputies have arrived at foreclosed properties to find tenants who …
August 8, 2008
I have now officially become a “victim” of the foreclosure crisis. I don’t own a home, I do not have a mortgage and the ironic part of this is that my job actually …
July 2, 2008
Certain homeowners and investors seem to be collecting rent from unsuspecting renters and forgetting to send their mortgage payment to their lender. I like to call this new unfair and deceptive …
November 20, 2007
The perfect crime is being perpetuated across America and there seems to be no laws or any way to prevent it.A new scam has been born with the advent of foreclosure boom. …
California Rent Skimming Law:
(a) A seller of an interest in residential real property who
received a promissory note or other evidence of indebtedness for all
or a portion of its purchase price secured by a lien on the property
may bring an action against any person who has engaged in rent
skimming with respect to that property. A seller who prevails in the
action shall recover all actual damages and reasonable attorney’s
fees and costs. The court may award any appropriate equitable
relief. The court shall award exemplary damages of not less than
three times the actual damages if the defendant has engaged in
multiple acts of rent skimming and may award exemplary damages in
(b) A seller of an interest in residential real property who
reacquires the interest from a person who has engaged in rent
skimming with respect to that property, or a law enforcement agency,
may request the court for an order declaring that the reacquired
interest is not encumbered by any lien that is or has the effect of a
judgment lien against the person who engaged in rent skimming if the
lien is not related to any improvement of the property and does not
represent security for loan proceeds made by a bona fide lien holder
without knowledge of facts constituting a violation of this title.
The motion or application shall be made with at least 30 days’
advance written notice to all persons who may be affected by the
order, including lienholders, and shall be granted unless the
interests of justice would not be served by such an order.
(c) A mortgagee or beneficiary under a deed of trust encumbering
residential real property may bring an action against a person who
has engaged in rent skimming with respect to that property as one of
multiple acts of rent skimming, whether or not the person has become
contractually bound by an obligation secured by the mortgage or deed
of trust. The mortgagee or beneficiary who prevails in the action
shall recover actual damages to the extent of the amount of the rent
collected on the encumbered property and attorney’s fees and costs.
The court also may order any appropriate equitable relief and may
award exemplary damages.
(d) A tenant of residential real property may bring an action
against a person who has engaged in rent skimming with respect to
that property for the recovery of actual damages, including any
security, as defined in Section 1950.5, and moving expenses if the
property is sold at a foreclosure sale and the tenant was required to
move. A prevailing plaintiff in such an action shall be awarded
reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. The court also may award
exemplary damages; it shall award exemplary damages of at least three
times the amount of actual damages if the payments due under any
deed of trust or mortgage were two or more months delinquent at the
time the tenant rented the premises or if the defendant has engaged
in multiple acts of rent skimming.
(e) The rights and remedies provided in this section are in
addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law.
(f) Rent skimming is unlawful, and any waiver of the provisions
of this section are void and unenforceable as contrary to public
(g) Sections 580a, 580b, 580d, and 726 of the Code of Civil
Procedure do not apply to any action brought under this title.