Forgotten and ignored in the long line of horror stories about foreclosure are the tens of thousand of apartment dwellers who live in foreclosure hellholes, where landlords and apartment complex owners play games, lie, steal food out of the mouths of babies and leave desperate apartment residents living in unsafe, unsanitary, Third World hellholes.
A social work student in Texas relates the story of how she spent Thanksgiving in what is supposed to be the richest country in the world. Her family lives in an apartment complex, whose management company apparently skipped out with the mortgage payment, failing to pay sewage and a host of utility bills.
The owner allegedly filled his apartment complexes with Katrina survivors, pocketed a skad of Section 8 voucher money, then neglected to pay utility bills, maintenance or upkeep, not to mention the mortgage. The upshot of the deal is that people are living in an apartment complex, which has sporadic water and sewage service, leaving residents to buy garbage cans and fill them up with water, just in case the water goes off again.
In her blog entry, the student wrote:
This company has been doing this all over Texas for years. When Katrina first occurred, the owner filled nice apartments with hurricane victims carrying Section 8 vouchers and stopped paying to bills. He has cheated residents and management alike, promising them deposits and reimbursements that never come. One past resident nicknamed him the "Slumlord of the South" in a forum. He has become a master at taking advantage of people who are either ignorant of their rights or do not have the resources to fight for them. (blog entry)
All over the country, “Home, Sweet Home” isn’t sweet any more. Through no fault of their own, thousands of people who live in apartments that are being foreclosed on, and are left out in the cold--literally filling up the nation's homeless shelters to overflowing. Although many have paid timely rents, owners, property managers and others have managed to keep from paying the mortgage on their property, sending apartments around the nation into foreclosure.
In the Twin Cities, it has become a major problem. One reporter writes:
When landlords face foreclosures, tenants often lose their housing. Rights and leases can extend for months after a sale, but many families are scrambling and some are finding themselves homeless. (Star-tribune on line, “Wave of Foreclosures Hits Renters”, 10-29-2007
In the Minneapolis-St. Paul area alone, the newspaper reports that
Metrowide numbers are hard to come by, but at least 2,500 tenant households are expected to be disrupted by foreclosures in Hennepin County alone this year, according to a county task force. Hennepin accounted for about 27 percent of the state's foreclosures over the last two years. (Ibid)