If I am looking to purchase a foreclosure that may be occupied, what do I do with existing occupants once I own the property?

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If I am looking to purchase a foreclosure that may be occupied, what do I do with existing occupants once I own the property?

If they do damage what protection do I have?

Asked on August 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can evict them. If they are not tenants (e.g. squatters, former owners, etc.) you can look to evict them immediately upon purchase. If they are tenants, you can still evict them, but the timing depends on how you intend to use the property:

1) You intend to live there--may give them 90 days notice after you own the property to leave;

2) You are buying it as a rental or invesment property, or to tear down and rebuild--you must let them have the longer of either 90 days or the remaining term of their written lease (if any).

In any event, if the occupants don't go when they are supposed to, you would have to then file a legal action to get them out--you can only evict through the courts, and may not, for example, simply change the locks yourself.

If they do damage, you  could sue them for the cost/value of the damage--which will not help you if they leave without a forwarding address, or have little income or assets to pay any judgment.


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