If our landlord signed a quitclaim deed, is he still the legal landlord?

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If our landlord signed a quitclaim deed, is he still the legal landlord?

We signed a lease 3 months ago but the “bank” sent out people to take pictures of the outside of the house with no notice twice in 2 months. We tried to find out if it was in foreclosure and found out that our landlord had signed a quitclaim deed to another guy 3 years ago. We have no knowledge of who this guy is and/or the mortgage company. Our landlord refuses to tell us. Is our lease null and void now? What do we do?

Asked on June 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your "landlord" does not technically own the property then he can not enter in to a valid lease agreement for the premises.  He has no standing to contract - and a lease is a contract - so I would say yes, the lease is invalid or void. What you do now really depends on what you want to do.  I would seek consultation from an attorney in your area.  If you do not pay rent then technically you are trespassing - like squatters here - and you can be evicted by the rightful owner (who, may I say, should be really kind of annoyed by all of these goings on).  But you may not have an obligation to pay rent at this point in time.  You know you can find put the actual owner by going down to the county clerk's office and looking up the deed.  I think, though, it may be best to find another place to live.  Good luck.


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