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Fun with Foreclosures: How to Get Screwed by Your Landlord

Something was funny about the landlord. A little too eager, maybe, but -- for a pocketful of extra cash -- aren't we all these days? Renter Sandy Sanchez, a straight-talking 54-year-old, didn't think much of it. She stood inside a spacious two-bedroom duplex on NE 112th Street last week and scribbled on her renter's application.


Man, this place was a bargain. Only $850 for all of this room? Move in this week? "Absolutely," the owner told her. "And once you put down a deposit, you can do whatever you want to the inside."

This was perfect. She wanted to add a large ceiling fan and paint the living room to suit her offbeat taste. To be safe, she decided to sleep on it and come back later.

Good thing. Out of curiosity, back at home, she looked up the property on the county website. She also checked a few spots she'd visited on her apartment hunt. What she found: More than half of them were in foreclosure. Her beloved 112th Street pad had been in default since August 2008. "I could have had an eviction notice on my door any day," she says. "It just bothers the hell out of me."

The weird thing is that, legally, the landlord did nothing wrong. Florida law doesn't require property owners or the county to inform tenants when their home is in foreclosure. This leaves people such as Sandy out on the street with deposit money down the crapper. The kicker, Sandy says, is there was a young Haitian family with kids in the building -- totally clueless. (Look up your home here.)

"The law needs to be changed," Sandy proclaims."Would it be that hard for the county to send tenants a notice?"

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