Some Boston-Area Tenants In Foreclosed Homes Obtaining Financial Settlements Averaging $18K From Banks With Help From Harvard Law Students
In Boston, Massachusetts, The Record at Harvard Law School reports on the activities of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau in representing renters in residential property that are facing eviction actions brought by foreclosing lenders as a result of rent-skimming landlords pocketing tenant rent and stiffing the mortgage lender, thereby allowing the homes to go into foreclosure.
- Foreclosing lenders, through local real estate brokers, use a program dubbed "cash-for-keys," through which they offer a one-time payment of around $500.00 to tenants in exchange for their voluntary abandonment of the property. Many tenants, unaware that possession is worth significantly more money, and facing intimidation from banks and constables, leave their homes with almost nothing.
- Additionally, banks serve deficient 5- and 15-day Notices to Quit, pressuring tenants to quickly leave apartments before filing actual eviction notices with the Court. Tenants lack the knowledge to fight these tactics, the money to pay for representation, and the resources to avoid homelessness.
Reportedly, in representing low income tenants in these foreclosure eviction actions brought by foreclosing mortgage lenders, the Bureau has assisted tenants obtain financial settlements from the foreclosing lenders:
- The median settlement in these cases is $18,000, a life-changing sum for many tenants. "Part of this process is about making it more expensive for banks to litigate these cases. We're trying to change the cost/benefit analysis of no-fault evictions," says Dave Haller, [a] second year [law] student.
For more, see Legal Aid Bureau Addresses Foreclosure Crisis.
According to their website, the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is a student-run organization at Harvard Law School composed of approximately 40 second and third-year student-attorneys, and