Mother of 6 renting foreclosed home told to leave

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Tonya Smith moved with her six children from Wilmington to Charlotte 14 months ago. 
 
She found a house on Cades Cove Drive, signed a year lease and started paying $1,100 a month in rent.
 
Smith thought everything was fine until she started getting letters about foreclosure in the mail and eventually she got a notice of eviction.  
 
"Someone started coming and taking pictures of the house. I came home from wherever I'm going and there (were) notes on the door," Smith said.
 
At first, Smith ignored the notices thinking they must be for the previous owners of the house who were foreclosed on.  That family had been out of the house for months before she ever moved in.
 
Then someone from a real estate company told her she was going to have to move soon because the foreclosure process was moving forward.
 
  An employee for the company she'd been renting from, IRA Holdings, LLC,  told her not to worry, her lease was good and she could stay. 
 
"She said she would take care of it. That she would handle it all," Smith said.
 
IRA Holdings told Channel 9 it bought the deed on the house after it first went into foreclosure. A spokeswoman said the bank has to honor the lease before foreclosing on a house.
 
The Federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act indicates a tenant must be allowed to stay until their lease is up under most circumstances.
 
However, the issue is the date the new rental agreement was signed.  
 
Smith said she signed a new two-year lease Friday and appeared to be after the foreclosure process was started meaning it may not be valid.
 
Adding to this issue, IRA Holdings was dissolved by the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office for failure to file the necessary business documents for the past year.
 
The dissolution of the company was made Tuesday.
 
An employee of the company was not aware of the change in status, when we asked about it.
 
Smith said she'll start looking for a new place to live but would like to be able to stay in the house at least until the end of the school year.
 
It's not clear what will happen next as the legal process is just beginning.

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