Monday, April 30, 2012

Banks as landlords, only now learning the rules

This @SFBG feature on San Francisco post-foreclosure evictions gets across a thing I've also heard directly from a tenants'-rights lawyer: that when banks become landlords, they and their lawyers often don't deal with tenants according to the normal standards followed by normal landlords or by normal landlords' lawyers.

Or rather, the article makes it all sound a little too simple by suggesting banks as landlords are simply arrogant in, for example, failing to answer repair requests, or making lowball offers in attempts to buy out tenancies.

What I've heard is a bit more complex: that the trouble is at least partly in bankers' ignorance of the rental business. That bankers and their lawyers don't always know to take the kinds of prudent steps that would be routine for seasoned landlord-side lawyers -- which results in more fuss for everyone than strictly necessary, sometimes in ways that don't help the banks any more than the tenants. The moral question being to what extent the ignorance (or indifference) is willful.

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