Foreclosure affecting city renters

Posted at 8:26 PM, Jul 11, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-11 20:27:00-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--What if you paid your rent on time for three years and still got kicked out of your home? That’s one family’s nightmare and they simply don’t know where to turn.

Chardenia Robinson’s worries began when she got a letter from a bank notifying her that the Northside home she rents from landlord Lanny Jones is in foreclosure.

“I feel hurt because he was getting money from us and not paying the mortgage,” said Robinson. She tells CBS 6 News a Section 8 voucher helped pay her rent every month, for the past three years. Now she’s scrambling to find a new home to live in within sixty days.

Robinson has five children and is temporarily caring for her cancer stricken mom who’s here from New York.

"My mom only has three to six months to live. It’s stressing me out and stressing her out and she doesn’t want to leave yet. She doesn’t want to leave yet and wants to make sure we’ve got a place,” said Robinson.

She says the catch twenty-two is that when she finds a new home for her family she’ll need her old deposit back to put down on the new home. “He’s not giving me my deposit back. Why won’t you just give it back if the bank took the house? He’s trying to tell me to get the money from the bank” Robinson explained.

Robinson is thankful Section 8 is providing another voucher to help her with rent once she finds a new house, but now she’s racing the clock to do so. She wants to be able to find that home before the bank gives her a hard deadline on when they have to move.

We tried to contact Jones but were unable to reach him.  Richmond city leaders say this woman’s foreclosure nightmare isn’t uncommon. In fact, more and more tenants are finding themselves in this situation. City Council Vice President Ellen Robertson hopes Robinson and others facing foreclosure will participate in an upcoming Housing Crisis Workshop.

The event will connect troubled tenants and homeowners with experts from HUD, Housing Opportunities Made Equal and the city’s Economic Development officials. Those in attendance will have a chance to meet with counselors in private to discuss their foreclosure situation.

“They will be there to get the information and they’ll follow up with the tenants and homeowners and give them the one of one that they need. Tenants don’t know what their rights are in that situation and that’s why we need them to come and get information and take it home and share it with their neighbors. We need to do everything we can to avoid foreclosure,“ added Council woman Robertson.

Speaking about Robinson’s situation, Robertson said “She needs to be able to find a place to live. We need to work more closely with those tenants that are being displaced through no fault of their own, so we need to aggressively educate everyone. From the bankers and lenders to the homeowners to people in rental properties, we need them to know the impact of foreclosure. We should work together to get people the help they need to avoid this problem."