What are out rights as tenants in a foreclosure situation?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are out rights as tenants in a foreclosure situation?

My husband and I have been renting a home for 4 years. Our landlord passed away earlier this year and the house was left to her son. We have continued to pay rent but last Friday a woman from the mortgage company came to the house and spoke to my 12 year old daughter and told her the landlord was not paying. They were unaware that the landlord had even passed. I am assuming the son has not paid for months. What are our rights as tenants? How long are we able to stay in the home once foreclosure proceedings start? The son is requesting cash payments now and from what I understand we are still liable for the rent. Are we able to negotiate for a lesser rent or is there any way we can legally stop paying?

Asked on December 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Federal law gives rights and protections to a tenant in such a situation. Accordingly, when a home goes into foreclosure, tenants who have a written lease can continue to occupy the premises until the end of their lease or 90 days, whichever is longer. The only exception would be if the new owner intends to move into the home as their primary residence. In that case, a 90 day notice to move would apply. Tenants with a month-to-month lease, or no lease at all, have to be given at least 90 days notice to move.

However, even if a foreclosure action has already been filed, as long as the landlord remains the owner of record (that is still on the title to the property), a tenant must continue paying rent to them. In some jurisdictions, a tenant may be able to pay their rent to the local clerk of the court, who will in turn deposit the money into a special account. Therefore, a tenant must be careful to find out just when title to the property passes at auction, etc. Former landlords have been known to try and continue to collect rent even after they no longer own the property. As a lawful occupant of a property in foreclosure, a tenant should be notified by the mortgage holder as to the transfer date of the property. After this time, the landlord will no longer be the legal owner and the tenant should be informed where to send their rental payments by the new owner.

As to the return of the security deposit, when a property is foreclosed on there may not be much that a tenant can do. As a general rule, a tenant’s only legal remedy is to sue the landlord in small claims court (although even if successfull in winning a judgment, actually getting the money they are owed may be difficult).

At this point, you can contact an attorney who handles landlord-tenant cases for more information.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption