What are my rights as a tenant if my rent is going to be foreclosed on?

The house that I’m renting is going into auction in 2 months and the landlord did not tell us. He does not know that we found out. We did sign a 1 year lease and have only been living in the home for 2 months.

Asked on October 5, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Federal and some state laws gives some rights and protections to a tenant if their rental is foreclosed on. Accordingly, when a home goes into foreclosure, tenants with a written lease can continue to occupy their home until the end of the lease period, or 90 days, whichever is longer. The exception being if the new owner intends to move in and occupy the home as their primary residence; in that case a 90 day notice to move would apply. Additionally, in cases where state law provides more protection than the federal law, the state law applies. However, even if a foreclosure action has already been filed, as long as the landlord remains the owner of record, then the tenant must continue paying rent to them. That having been said, a tenant must be careful to find out just when title to the property passes at auction since former landlords have been known to try and continue to collect rent even after they no longer own the property. Typically, a tenant should be notified by the mortgage lender as to the sale/transfer date of the property. After this time, the landlord will no longer be the legal owner, so the tenant should then be informed where to send their rent. also, the return of the security deposit remains the landlord's obligation, although it may be difficult to get returned and may require filing an action in small claims court. One bright spot in all of this is that sometimes an incentive can be negotiated between a new owner and a tenant so that in exchange for money payment, the tenant agrees to move out prior to the end of their lease (or 90 days if applicable). This incentive is known as “Cash for Keys”.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Federal and some state laws gives some rights and protections to a tenant if their rental is foreclosed on. Accordingly, when a home goes into foreclosure, tenants with a written lease can continue to occupy their home until the end of the lease period, or 90 days, whichever is longer. The exception being if the new owner intends to move in and occupy the home as their primary residence; in that case a 90 day notice to move would apply. Additionally, in cases where state law provides more protection than the federal law, the state law applies. However, even if a foreclosure action has already been filed, as long as the landlord remains the owner of record, then the tenant must continue paying rent to them. That having been said, a tenant must be careful to find out just when title to the property passes at auction since former landlords have been known to try and continue to collect rent even after they no longer own the property. Typically, a tenant should be notified by the mortgage lender as to the sale/transfer date of the property. After this time, the landlord will no longer be the legal owner, so the tenant should then be informed where to send their rent. also, the return of the security deposit remains the landlord's obligation, although it may be difficult to get returned and may require filing an action in small claims court. One bright spot in all of this is that sometimes an incentive can be negotiated between a new owner and a tenant so that in exchange for money payment, the tenant agrees to move out prior to the end of their lease (or 90 days if applicable). This incentive is known as “Cash for Keys”.


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