CLEVELAND, OH — Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called for immediate Congressional action to renew an expiring law that protects renters from being suddenly and unfairly evicted from their homes. During the housing crisis, too many tenants were forced to move with only a few days’ notice when landlords lost their properties to foreclosure. To protect families from these sudden, destabilizing evictions, Congress passed legislation in 2009 which ensures that most tenants can stay in their homes for the remainder of their lease, or for at least 90 days following a foreclosure. But with the law set to expire at the end of the year, Brown urged Congress to pass new legislation that would both extend and strengthen these renter protections.

“Tenants who work hard, and responsibly pay their rent each month, deserve protections for themselves and their families,” Browns said. “In the past, families who rented were uprooted from their homes because of foreclosures that weren’t their fault. The Permanently Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act would renew and strengthen renters’ rights so families aren’t unfairly evicted from their homes.”

During the housing crisis, millions of renters—who had made each of their monthly payments—were forced from their homes through no fault of their own. 40 percent of families affected by foreclosures, in fact, are renters. That is why Congress passed the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA) in 2009. Now, with that law set to expire on January 1, 2015, Brown is cosponsoring the Permanently Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act.

Specifically, the Permanently Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act would:   

  • Make protections of the PTFA permanent, regardless of when a foreclosure takes place; and
  • Ensure compliance with the law by establishing a private right of action for tenants who have been wrongfully evicted in violation of the PTFA.

Joining Brown to share her personal experience was Laquita Jarmon, a Cleveland resident who rented a house from a landlord who failed to divulge that the property was in the midst of foreclosure. Subsequently, Jarmon and her four children were unfairly evicted from their home with only 30 days’ notice. Also joining Brown was Roslyn Quarto, the Executive Director of Empowering & Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP), a non-profit HUD-approved housing counseling agency that fights to keep Ohioans in their homes. ESOP hosted today’s press conference. 

Brown’s legislation is endorsed by: Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Taskforce, First Focus Campaign for Children, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Mercy Housing, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children & Youth, National Center on Family Homelessness, National Center on Housing and Child Welfare, National Foreclosure Taskforce, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National Housing Law Project, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, and National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Brown continues to help Northeast Ohio communities secure the resources they need to keep citizens in their homes and address the scourge of blighted properties that undermine surrounding property values, drain local resources, and threaten the safety and security of our neighborhoods. Last month, Brown announced that $10,118,750 in Hardest Hit Funds (HHF) was awarded to Cuyahoga County to demolish vacant and abandoned properties. These funds represent a portion of the $570 million in Ohio HHF that Brown helped secure in 2010 as a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. HHF can be used in a flexible manner to address Ohio’s local housing issues. To date, almost $250 million has been spent on a variety of programs to help Ohioans, including demolitions, direct assistance to borrowers, and help for local housing counselors to assist homeowners. Of the more than 10,000 Ohioans who have received assistance to date, the overwhelming majority have been able to remain in their homes.