Renting Doesn't Necessarily Protect You From Inept Mortgage Servicers

Whenever I bring up the ongoing mortgage and foreclosure fiasco (and yes, this topic does come up often in my casual conversation; which is probably why I’m single), at least one of my renter friends cavalierly states that he or she is happy to not have to worry about having a bank wrongly foreclose on them, or mistakenly seize their stuff. But as the following story shows, that just isn’t so.

Out west in Portland, a woman recently had to file a lawsuit against Citimortgage after she came home to her rented apartment to find that someone employed or contracted by Citi had not only broken into her apartment, but had changed the locks, leaving her stuck outside.

The building’s owner had defaulted on its loan and the plaintiff had previously done all she could to notify Citi that she was a lawful tenant, complete with signed lease, on the property.

Her lawyer, Troy Pickard, tells Consumerist that his and his client’s attempts to resolve the issue with Citi went without a response.

Thus, the tenant had no other recourse but to sue the bank for unlawful ouster and unlawful entry.

“It took a lawsuit to get their attention,” says Pickard.

The complaint, which had only sought three months rent ($2,400) was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, but it stands as a warning to anyone who thinks that inept banks don’t hassle renters.