Tenants refusing to pay because home is in foreclosure. We need the rental payments to continue paying their maintenance bills

We fell on hard times and could no longer afford to pay the mortgage on our rental property. The bank has postponed the foreclosure 3 times and the tenants are fed up (understandably) and are now refusing to pay rent. However I cannot pay the HOA fees, home warranty, insurance, etc unless I receive the rent payment. The tenant thinks that we are scum of the earth and are hostile. Not that I blame them, it’s a terrible situation for them. We reduced the rent to ease the pain. We have been working through a property management company but now that the tenant is refusing to pay, prop mgmt is terminating their service due to 'inability to provide service'. I'd like to hire a local attorney to help me manage this. Sacramento area or El Dorado County, preferably - or through email would be great

Sacramento, CA -

Attorney Answers (3)

James Carl Eschen III

James Carl Eschen III

Landlord / Tenant Lawyer - Santa Cruz, CA
Answered

Your foreclosure has no bearing on the tenant's payment of rent. You can give a three-day notice to pay or quit and then proceed with an unlawful detainer proceeding. I recognize that an unlawful detainer may require you to spend a lot of money and in the end get nothing but an unrented house and a judgment for unpaid rent.

You could also take the tenants to small claims court for the unpaid rent. You would include all the rent unpaid through the day you filed the action. You would then get the judgment for the rent, and the tenants would stay in the house, with the continuing obligation to pay you rent.

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Erin Patricia Farley

Erin Patricia Farley

Landlord / Tenant Lawyer - Petaluma, CA
Answered

I do not understand why the tenants are being hostile; they are lucky you are being honest with them (in these situations, many landlords are not). I am sorry for what you are going through.

The tenants have no right to refuse to pay rent: serve them a 3-day notice to pay or quit. Even if the house goes to auction and is lost, the tenants will be entitled to an additional 90-days (at least) notice from the bank/new owner.

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Kevin Lewis King

Kevin Lewis King

Landlord / Tenant Lawyer - San Francisco, CA
Answered

Mr. Eschen and Ms. Farley are correct.

Your tenants have no right to refuse to pay rent so long as they are living there and their rental units are habitable. As nice as you have been to them, you must assert your legal rights.

Serve them a 3-day Notice to Pay or Quit.

Kevin King, Attorney at ESSENTIAL LAW SERVICES. The information presented... more
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