My beautiful family moved in this nice town house 3 months ago with a 12 month lease. Last week my wife found a mail stating that my landlord are not paying her mortgage. Now the town house is up for an auction in 3 weeks. What should I do? Keep paying the rent? Can I break the contract? Do I have the chance to get my deposit back? Can I sue my landlord for not honoring our contract of 12 month lease? What happens after the auction??? Thank you in advance for all the advice and answers...
Real Estate Attorney
You can sue your landlord for damages. You have certain protections under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. The OCC has some good information on a 7 page description of the act.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
File a copy of the written lease agreement with the clerk of courts.
In the upper right hand corner of the lease, write in the case number for the foreclosure case.
Anything you send to the clerk of courts, you must send a copy of to the parties to the lawsuit (the plaintiff and all the defendants).
If you do not have a written lease agreement, then write a short letter to the judge stating your name, that you are a tenant in the property, what rent is due, what day of the month it is due, how long the lease was for, etc. File a copy with the clerk of courts, mail a copy to the chambers of the judge, mail a copy to all of the parties to the lawsuit.
Filing the lease or the letter will put parties on notification that a tenant lives in the property.
The 2009 federal act Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure will protect you if you are a bona fide tenant, are not a relative of the property owner, didn't engage in fraud or collusion with the owner to set a low rent, etc.
The purchaser at foreclosure sale will have to honor the lease through the end of the term UNLESS he/she intends to live there as his/her residence. A corporation purchasing cannot claim this, a trust cannot claim this. Only an individual purchasing at the foreclosure sale can claim this.
the new owner should contact you. they will be the new landlord under the same lease agreement. you should begin paying June rent to them. If they don't get in contact with you, you can try to contact them. You can look up events in the clerk of courts' website and the property appraiser's website for your county. An attorney will be able to help, also, if you go for a consultation. A consultation should take no more than 30 minutes to an hour and should be no more than about $250.00.
You should pay your May rent to the owner or you can try to negotiate using your security deposit for May's rent.
Ten days after the sale, the clerk will issue the certificate of title to the new owner.
If you are unsure of your rights, see a local landlord tenant attorney or real estate lawyer for a consultation. Good luck.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
I agree with Ms. Graham. Do not panic. The protecting tenants at foreclosure act will protect you for some period of time so long as you are paying rent and meet the listed criteria. Arguably there was what is called "fraud in the inducement" because you were not told the house was in foreclosure at the time the lease was signed. How can a LL in good faith sign a one year lease with a tenant knowing that the foreclosure action was far along? Sounds dishonest to me.
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