They Foreclosed On Our Landlord And May Leave Us Homeless

Jennifer says her apartment’s landlord suffered a foreclosure, which will leave the rooms uninhabitable if the utilities have been shut off. Her horror story is probably more common than you’d like to believe in this era of rapid foreclosures, and a cautionary tale of signing a lease in which utilities are included.

She writes:

I need advice. So I find out mid April that my building has been foreclosed and bought at auction by the bank. The redemption period is over May 12. Well obviously I was devastated because I love where I live, the schools are great and the location is perfect for someone with no vehicle. Not to mention that I have also lost my $1275 security deposit that I need to pay for a new place.

So I had to postpone major surgery untill july start packing and looking for an apartment. Once I find one I have to find a way to move my 13 yo son and my things. Devastating yes but I am dealing with it. Since I haven’t been legally notified of this I know I have time to save and look for a place but I am also in a hurry to find a place and move so I can attend to my health issues. Well if all that isnt bad enough we get a notice put on our building 5/3/2010 that the landlord paid gas would be shut off on 5/10/2010. I frantically started making calls. First I called the banks realtor and informed them of the problem. They stated nothing they can do because the property is in redemption period untill the 12th of may and even they they could only put the utilities in their name if the building was vacant. So I call the gas company.

I explain that as they can tell our building has a shared gas bill that the landlord is supposed to pay and the bank is waiting for the redemption period to end and that there are families living here could they please postpone the shutoff till the bank takes complete ownership. The rep I spoke with felt horrible but said there was nothing she could do. So now in tears I call legal aid who tells me there is nothing they can do, but they gave me the case number of the foreclosure and the banks attorneys info. So I called the banks attorney and explained the situation she said that they were just finding out about this and there was nothing they could do in that short amount of time. So again I call Nicor (our gas company) this time I ask for a supervisor, who was really rude and all she said was she shouldnt even talk to me about this since my name is not on the account and that there was nothing they can do.

So now it is Mothers Day, my son and I are trying to enjoy the hot water cause tomorrow it may be gone. I will have no hot water to wash dishes, do laundry, shower,no gas to cook, or have heat if needed (all gas). Nobody can or will help. We tenants are the true victims in this situation. I have lost my home of over 3 years, lost my security deposit, have to find a new place, pay for it and move, I am having to move my son possibly to another school district, put my medical issues on the backburner and now I am going to be without gas. Please any advice on what to do next would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

What moves should Jennifer make if the gas shuts off?