Family Evicted Despite Law Protecting Tenants From Landlord’s Foreclosure

MABLETON, GA — It should not have happened:

A family’s belongings in heaps; and the family — Patrick Duff, Sasha Davis and their now 10-day-old daughter Mia — evicted from their rented house in Mableton on Thursday morning, without any warning, they say, insisting they did not know that their landlords had lost the home in a foreclosure on the Cobb County Courthouse steps.

“The rug was yanked out from under us,” Duff said on Thursday.

“It says to me that something is very awry,” Karen Gandolfo, an Atlanta mortgage and foreclosure consultant, said on Friday. “It says to me that there’s the possibility that due process wasn’t served.”

Gandolfo said tenants should know that federal law guarantees they are entitled, at the very least, to get a 90-day notice of eviction, once the landlord loses the home in foreclosure.

Duff and Davis said that all their landlords did was try to reassure them that the official-looking envelope delivered to the rental house last month, addressed to the landlords, did not contain some sort of legal notice regarding foreclosure and eviction.

“The landlords actually told us that everything was fine, they said Bank of America had made a mistake,” Duff said.

The rental home was in the name of Carmen Villanueva, but both she and Rafael Villanueva were the landlords, according to Duff and Davis.

The Villanuevas are listed as living in a home in a Vinings subdivision.

Gandolfo said that her research on Friday revealed that if Duff and Davis had thought to check public records — and when do any renters ever think to check on their landlords like that? — they would have found out that the landlords actually lost the Mableton rental house in August when the bank took it over in a foreclosure sale.

That means, she said, that the Villanuevas had not been paying the mortgage on the rental house in Mableton for months before that, at least.

Yet Duff and Davis said they were paying their rent to the Villanuevas every month, from the beginning of their lease in February until now — even in August, September, October and November, when Carmen Villanueva didn’t even own the house anymore.

After the bank took it over in August, the bank sold the house on the courthouse steps in October to an investment firm, which is the current owner of the house.

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Protecting Tenants At Foreclosure Act
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