What are the Tenants’ Rights in a Foreclosure

New property owner receiving the keys to his property

A foreclosure is not a happy event, but let’s face it, it does happen. Whether you are tenant or a even a landlord, it is important to learn the tenants’ rights in a foreclosure.

Honoring The Lease: Are you supposed to be on your lease for a specific time period? The federal law states that your lease should be passed on to the new landlord. If the landlord is going to use your home as their primary residence, they must give you a 90 day notice. Tenants who are paying month-to-month also have 90 days to find a new residence.

60 Day Notice: If the landlord is going by the state law, they may not have to honor your lease. In this case, you are given a 60 day notice instead of a 90 day notice. Whether you have 60 days or 90 days, you have a right to stay in your home for that time period.

Right To a Refund: You have a right to a refund for the rent or deposit from the previous month, or that payment should be sent to the new owner. Failure to do either may result in your former landlord owing you twice the amount of the deposit and your attorneys’ fees.

Right To Identification: You want to be sure the person collection rent money is actually the new owner of the residence. You have every right to ask for a document as proof of ownership, such as a copy of the Trustee’s Deed. You also have the right to contact a local title insurance company for assistance.

Right To Your Home: Your former or new landlord cannot change the lock or remove your belongings while you are still living in the home. If this does happen, notify the police as soon as possible.

Right To Relocate: You are legally entitled to a 60 or 90 day notice before the eviction. However, you are not required to stick around for that time period. If you find a new home before the time is up, you can relocate, but make sure you take all your belongings with you.

Small Claims Court: Once the lease is signed, the landlord who pays the mortgage must provide the residence during the entire term. However, tenants who are still on their lease may be forced to move out so the new owners can move in. If this happens to you, the landlord has violated the lease. You can take your former landlord to small claims court, suing him for the cost of searching for a new residence, application fees, the moving process and difference in the lease of your new home.

Learning the tenants’ rights in a foreclosure keeps everyone prepared for this unfortunate event.

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