HIV-Positive Tenants Worried About Foreclosures

by Peter Vernon on Foreclosure Crisis

In New York City, it is not only the troubled homeowners and lenders who are experiencing stress from the rising foreclosure rate. Even tenants are becoming innocent victims, getting forced out of their homes or receiving threats of eviction. To make matters worse, some of these renters are HIV positive.

With their health affected by the threats of foreclosure, many HIV-positive tenants are finding themselves getting sick due to the stress of worrying what will happen to them if their landlords face foreclosure. It will be double hard for them to look for a place since not all landlords accept rental subsidy provided by the city. Aside from this, rental rates have skyrocketed and the anti-discrimination laws that are currently being implemented are insufficient to protect them.

Over 50 HIV-positive tenants have expressed their concern about their situation to the city’s housing department. Many of them have already suffered from the bad experience of being evicted without notice or having their utilities suddenly cut off. There were only few incidences when the landlord was honest enough with the renters, notifying them about the foreclosure situation months in advance.

New York City’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration or HASA has always provided rental assistance. Every beneficiary of the said assistance is evaluated based on their individual circumstances. On the average, the city shells out monetary assistance ranging from $940 to $1,348. Although the renters are required to contribute to the rental fee, they need to have a minimum of $330 left from their income.

The number of New York foreclosure filings has actually doubled from 2004 to 2007. Most of the properties foreclosed are two- to three- family buildings, which are basically inhabited by tenants. Even with a signed lease, tenants have no protection from eviction.

Nationwide, foreclosure filings jumped by 55 percent based on year-to-year comparison.