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Accidental landlords — an unwelcome consequence of the housing market shock

During the bubble years of the mid-2000s, Americans were encouraged, often inappropriately, to become homeowners. As prices spiraled unsustainably higher, buyers — and lenders — stretched even more to reach that goal.

Then it all came crashing down.

Prices dropped about 40% nationwide, lenders stopped lending and mortgage companies stopped answering the phone when distressed homeowners called. In the deep recession that followed the market shock, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of housing wealth disappeared. America, the land of opportunity and mobility, was suddenly stagnant and uncooperative.

In the midst of it all, many Americans made decisions and accommodations that they might never have considered otherwise.

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