Almost half of the nation's foreclosed homes are still occupied.
In some big housing markets, like Miami and Los Angeles, the percentage jumps to 60 percent or higher, real estate statistics show.
People living in repossessed homes, including renters or former owners, aren’t paying a dime because the mortgage and rent is free, according to RealtyTrac, which used postal records to see if change-of-address forms had been filed, or if mail was still being picked up at foreclosed homes.
A recent article by CNN Money showed that old owners typically took about two months to leave and renters took a year or more according to their rental agreement, which must be honored by banks.
"If someone has a bona fide rental agreement, we have to abide by that," Amy Bonitatibus, a spokeswoman for JP Morgan Chase, told CNN Money.
The eviction process can take months as it winds through the legal process. The timing varies based on local laws and the backlog of cases in individual courts. Some states allow former owners time to secure financing to get back their homes.
In other cases, banks may be in no rush to kick people out, according to CNN Money. Markets with a lot of homes for sale and depressed prices make it hard for banks to sell a home, and recoup losses, so they wait for prices to come up to start the eviction process.
"Many foreclosed homes get vandalized or squatters move in," Pauliana Lara a homeowners activist who fights foreclosures, said.
A home recently lived-in sells better than one that has been left vacant for a long time, she said.
Article based on a report by CNN Money