By John Clark
Mortgage foreclosure rates have been rising and homeowners from all around the country are struggling to keep their homes. However, homeowners aren't the only people who suffer when foreclosure comes knocking-renters may also find themselves unexpectedly evicted because their landlord wasn't able to make the house payments.
A study conducted by the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University found that foreclosure rates in New York City have double between 2004 and 2007, with two- and three-unit buildings being affected by foreclosure the most. These buildings are often used as rental properties.
This means that not only does the homeowner get the boot when foreclosure happens, but the renters also are kicked out, according to a recent New York Times article.
We've all heard the dreadful stories of how hard it is to find an available rental apartment in New York City, but a specific group of renters has found that it's even harder for them to find a new home because of their health statuses.
According to the Times, at least 50 HIV-positive renters have expressed difficulty to housing agencies in finding new rentals after they've been forced out of their previous homes because of foreclosure.
HIV-positive people may face unique challenges when having to find an apartment in New York City. The Times reports there's a lack of public funding to aid them and the HIV-positive renter may face discrimination from landlords.
There have been efforts to curb this discrimination practice.
Earlier this year, the city's HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA), which provides rental assistance to qualifying HIV-positive people, worked with the New York City Council to make it illegal for landlords to discriminate against rental applicants who receive housing assistance.
But there are problems with the legislation; the law only applies to properties with six or more housing units and there's not much deterrence to violating the law because there's no penalty in place for offending landlords.
Another struggle is that although HASA provides financial assistance to HIV-positive people in need, recipients are expected to contribute 30% of their income to their housing costs.
Landlords are well aware of this fact and oftentimes are more susceptible to rent to people enrolled in the federal Section 8 housing program, which guarantees them more upfront governmental money. Landlords may also just flat deny offering housing to people with the HIV virus for no other reason than fear of the disease or judgment against the person with the virus.
The Times reports that the city does provide emergency housing to HIV-positive people evicted from their homes; however, it's meant to be only temporary housing.
More and more people are finding themselves without a place to call home, but it doesn't necessarily have to be this way. There are options for owners who want to keep their property.
Landlords and others facing foreclosure may not realize that late mortgage payments don't always have to result in a foreclosure. One alternative to foreclosure is for the homeowner to contact a bankruptcy attorney and get information on filing bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help homeowners keep their properties by getting an automatic stay and setting up a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. A bankruptcy lawyer can consult a homeowner and find out if filing bankruptcy is the right option for the homeowner.
If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure and considering filing bankruptcy, don't hesitate to contact a bankruptcy lawyer.