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Can we evict after we purchase property?

Jacksonville, FL |

We are purchasing a foreclosure that has a current tenant. We will want to evict the tenant who is being very difficult about even showing the property. Can we proceed with the eviction process to gain access when we purchase the property?

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Attorney answers 2


You will need to try and obtain a copy of the lease (if one exists) in order to determine what, if any, rights the tenant's may have following the foreclosure of the house. You may want to try and speak with the attorney for the bank that is foreclosing to see if they have a copy of the lease and also to make sure that they have included the tenant as a defendant in the foreclosure matter to extinguish any rights that the tenant may have. I suggest contacting a local real estate attorney in your area to assist you with this issue as well as review the title of the property that you are thinking about buying to make sure that the foreclosure was completed properly and that there are no other issues that may adversely encumber the property following the foreclosure sale. Buying a foreclosed home has an extra layer of issues/problems that an experienced attorney can help you navigate so that you don't end up buying a headache.

Best of luck.

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The tenant will likely be covered to some degree by the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act ("PTFA"), which in a nut shell, does not allow a landlord to evict the tenant without 90 days' notice.

However, you do need to see if you can obtain a copy of the lease, if any, to find out when the lease term expires. The PTFA is not designed to provide additional protection to a tenant whose lease would normally be expiring before the 90-day window.

You may also want to review FL Statute 83.53, which addresses the landlord's access to the dwelling unit & specifies that the tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent for the landlord to show the property to prospective buyers. If there is a valid lease agreement, this would more than likely constitute a violation of the lease & you may be able to evict the tenant for noncompliance.

If there is no valid lease, I do not know how a court would treat your attempt to evict the tenant in advance of the 90-day PTFA window (if the tenant raised the PTFA as some sort of defense), but again, the PTFA is not designed to allow tenants more rights than they would usually have under their tenancy, such as disallowing anyone to enter the property after receipt of proper notice (notice requirements are also addressed in FS 83.53).

Do not forget, you may also face a claim by the tenant for return of security deposit - that is a whole other issue that has not been touched on here.

Frankly, I think you need to try to obtain a copy of the lease & then schedule a consultation with a local attorney who can either review the lease or at least discuss the situation with you in detail & go over both the PTFA & the FL Residential Landlord Tenant Act (FL Statute Chapter 83, Part 2) with you to determine your best course of action under the circumstances. Good luck to you!

This information is for educational purposes only & does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from an attorney in your area who can analyze all of the specifics of your situation in detail.

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