E-Alerts & Press Releases

Court Orders JP Morgan to Comply With Federal Law Protecting Renters in Foreclosure

On January 7, 2010, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City vacated an order granting possession of a Baltimore City home to JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA.  The tenant in the home had contacted the Public Justice Center in October of 2009 seeking legal assistance to enforce her rights under the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA).  JP Morgan argued that it did not need to comply with the Act since the foreclosure sale took place in April of 2009 and PTFA did not take effect until May 20, 2009.  Matthew Hill, a staff attorney at the Public Justice Center, argued to the Circuit Court that JP Morgan was still required to comply with PTFA since it did not obtain title to the property until after PTFA took effect.  As such JP Morgan should have provided the month-to-month tenant occupying the home a 90-day notice to vacate before even seeking possession of the property from the court.

The Court adopted PJC’s interpretation of the PTFA in Maryland holding that JP Morgan did not become a “successor in interest” required to honor previous leases and provide any tenant a 90-day notice until after it took title to the property, which did not occur until at least 30 days after the sale if not longer.  PJC’s client is extremely pleased with the outcome of the case as it will provide her with much needed to time to move into a new home.  While the Circuit Court decision may not be used as binding precedent in other cases, it provides an important first step in alerting foreclosure sale purchasers of the need to scrupulously observe renters’ rights in foreclosure.

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