Tenant rights may not be protected without a lease

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(KTSF by Susannah Lee)

San Francisco tenants enjoy many rights and protections against foreclosure evictions, but not without a lease or sufficient proof of tenantship.

38% of California’s foreclosed properties are estimated to be occupied by tenants . The number even goes as high as 61% in San Francisco.

The Asian Law Caucus, advocate of civil rights serving the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, sees an increase in seeking help from foreclosure evictions.

“In San Francisco, foreclosure is not a just cause to evict. They have to have a basis whether it is non-payment of rent, or whether there is a breach of the lease” explains Omar Calimbas, staff attorney for Asian Law Caucus.

Not having a lease or a lease based on verbal agreement, however, could hinder tenants from their legal rights.

In such cases, the Chinatown Community Development Center suggests tenants keep as much proof of tenancy as possible. Proof includes rent payment receipts, letters addressed to the tenant, and written correspondences between the tenant and the landlord that would show the tenant-owner relationship.

The Asian Law Caucus cautions, however, what sufficiently constitutes a tenancy is determined on a case-by-case basis.

As a precaution to protect their rights, tenants may request a notice of foreclosure from the Assessor’s Office. Tenants should also seek legal advice immediately upon receipt of a notice of eviction when the rental property becomes a foreclosure.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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