Living in home for 7 years with bona fide lease that states I can buy home in the event of landlords death. Landlord died.

My landlord died and the bank refuses to acknowledge my lease which was signed by both my landlord and I and stating that in the event of his death I can purchase the home. The bank is foreclosing and I was served with an eviction notice. I have a pre approval loan statement, down payment and closing cost money. What are my rights and why is my lease not being honored?

Belfair, WA -

Attorney Answers (4)

J. Richard Mc Entee Jr.

J. Richard Mc Entee Jr.

Real Estate Attorney - University Place, WA
Answered

You may be able to purchase the home. However, there appears to be a valid lien against the property in favor of the bank. It the lien is valid and the bank has not been paid, the bank is within its rights to foreclose.

You should probably find out who is handling the landlord's estate. Since the landlord owned property, there will likely have to be some type of court action (probate) in the superior court of the county where the property is located. The person handling the estate should be able to clarify the situation. If your lease is clear enough in the terms that would typically encompass a sale, the you should be able to enforce the purchase and sale provisions in the lease. If there is too much ambiguity, it may be more difficult.

In the best case, he/she can sell you the property and they will pay off the banks loan/lien as part of the transaction. If the home has been willed to someone else, then you may have some issues, but reasonable minds (or the court) should be able to solve this.

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Thuong-Tri Nguyen

Thuong-Tri Nguyen

Real Estate Attorney - Renton, WA
Answered

In WA, a contract for the sale of real property needs to have the legal description of the property written in the contract or a clause specifying that someone will later have the authority to insert the legal description.

Many persons unfamiliar with the statutory requirements of real estate purchases sometimes would not comply with all the statutory requirements making the purported agreements unenforceable.

The bank does not really care who purchases the property as long as the bank is fully paid. If you have the money to pay off the bank, you can research into buying the property.

You should review the specific facts with your attorney to see what your legal options may be.

Michael T Millar

Michael T Millar

Real Estate Attorney - Toms River, NJ
Answered

You can sue on the contract joining both the estate and the bank.

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James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Probate Attorney - Livonia, MI
Answered

I agree with my colleagues. I wonder if there is not more going on, here, however. Has an estate been opened? Is there a Personal Representative (executor) in place? If not, then the bank may be foreclosing because they have no one who they legally can deal with. In that case, the Asker may be able to petition to have an estate opened, for purposes of paying off the debt and securing a deed. If there is no one who can legally take care of this, the bank would appear to be caught in legal limbo and they may be foreclosing, in order to force someone to step up to the plate for the estate. If there are no other estate assets, that may be part of the reason for the delay, if in fact, no estate has been opened.

In either case, because this is happening, asker needs to visit with an attorney, right away, to determine what is taking place, why this is happening, and what can be done to stop it.

James Frederick

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