After a property sells, doesn’t the new owner have to legally evict the tenants?

I was living on my mother-in-law’s property and had a business there as well. The house was sold without us knowing and now the new owner won’t let us

on the property to retrieve our belongings. Don’t they have to evict us? How can I legally retrieve my belongings on the property?

Asked on March 30, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

That is correct: whether you were rent paying tenants or non-rent paying "guests" of your mother-in-law, if you had been there legally (with her permission; not trespassing), the new owner must remove you through the courts and cannot simply lock you out. (The exact procedure or mechanism for removing tenants vs. guests varies, but the principal is the same--it must be done via a legal action.) If you were unlawfully locked out, go to your county court's clerk's office (or customer service office, if they have one), explain what happened--that you were unlawfully locked out of the home in which you'd been living and denied access to your belongings--and you can get instructions, forms, etc. for a legal action you can bring on an "emergent" (that is, "urgent" or "emergency") basis to get back in, at least short term.
Bear in mind the mid- or long-term, they will be able to remove you, so you do need to look for a new place to live (and run your business)--but you can at least get some time to do so, while they work through the proper process.


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