What can I do if I’m being sued for back rentfor a time periodin whichthe new owner did not own the property?

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What can I do if I’m being sued for back rentfor a time periodin whichthe new owner did not own the property?

My home was foreclosed on 6/28/10, it was sold at auction, the new owner filed for eviction the court date is 8/23 I’m moving to my new place on 8/7. The new owner stated in the lawsuit that they have owned the property since 4/3/10 which is not true, they also stated that we are in a lease at $950 per month which is not true, they are asking for $3300 back rent. We don’t have a lease neither written or verbal, what can I do about this.

Asked on July 30, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can do a lot.  First of all the new owner does not have "standing" - the right - to sue for the rent for the time period that he was not in possession unless he purchased all the rights and obligations of the old owner under foreclosure.  That means that when he bought the house he bought the right to sue for the back rent.  I can see this going wither way.  The petition, though, may be defective in another way. It alleges a written lease which must be proven.  If they can not then the petition is improper on its face and in most states that means it can be dismissed.  You don't have a lease with this owner but you had one once with the old owner/landlord.  If you continue to stay after the lease has expired and pay the same rent you become a month to month tenant.  You should have been notified to pay rent to the bank on the foreclosure proceeding at some point.  You were obligated to pay to someone. At this point you might try and negotiate with the new landlord since you are moving anyway. Seek help in your area if you make no headway yourself.  Good luck.


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