DEAR BERNICE: We're renting a home in an area where real estate prices have plummeted by about 25 percent. Our landlord owns two other properties in the area, one of which is vacant. We saw a foreclosure notice posted on the vacant property. We're concerned that if the landlord is letting another property go to foreclosure, he may not be making the payments on this property either. We fear the landlord will just pocket our rent money and leave us stuck in a mess with the bank. Is there anything we can do? --Phil B. DEAR PHIL: The first step to take is to find out the foreclosure process for your state. An excellent resource is RealtyTrac, which provides a detailed explanation of the foreclosure laws in each of the 50 states. In some states, it can take months to go through the process. In others, the foreclosure can take place in just a few weeks. In most states, the foreclosure process begins when the owner falls behind on his or her payments. The lender sends the owner...
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