The foreclosure crisis isn’t just hitting homeowners. Renters of foreclosed properties are among the most at risk of becoming homeless, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.

Although much of the attention has been on struggling homeowners, about 40 percent of the families facing eviction due to foreclosure are renters whose landlords have defaulted on their mortgages, according to the groups.

The status of renters in foreclosure cases is a matter of state law, and renters’ rights vary by state. Only 17 states require any type of notice to tenants, and only 14 states and the District of Columbia require a judicial process for foreclosure, according to the findings from the groups.

“This lack of protection for law-abiding renters can result in families losing their homes, children changing schools, and communities being destabilized unnecessarily,” said Danilo Pelletiere, NLIHC research direction in a statement. “Renter protections are important to spotting the cycle of decline.”

NLIHC is seeking legal protections for tenants in properties subject to foreclosure, including requiring existing leases and contracts to be honored by new owners. In the absence of a lease, NLIHC wants renters to be provided with at least 90 days notice before eviction.

The recently signed federal stimulus bill included $1.5 billion for the McKinney-Vento Emergency Shelter to prevent homelessness.

The report, Without Just Cause: A 50-State Review of the (Lack of) Rights of Tenants in Foreclosure, can be found at