What do I do if my landlord is in foreclosure? Should I pay rent?

Posted about 5 years ago. Applies to Florida, 11 helpful votes

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1

Pay your rent on time as usual

Just because the property is getting foreclosed, you still have to pay rent. You signed a contract to pay rent to the landlord because he owns the property and you are paying for the right to live there.

2

The Forclosure is against the property, not against you.

The foreclosure sounds as if the doors are going to be closed. No. It just means that the bank (or whomever is owed money) is going to take title (ownership) away from your landlord, but you have a PREXISTING RIGHT to live there. You have to pay rent, but you have to be provided a place to live.

3

Can the bank or new owner kick me out?

Under a new Federal Law, the new owner, whether it is the bank or whether someone buys the property at a foreclosure, the new owner has to give you 90 days notice if they want to give you the boot. If they give you the boot, they have to give you the deposit back unless you have damaged the property.

4

Ok, so I keep paying rent, but whom do I pay?

This could get tricky. Really keep up with your payments. DO NOT PAY CASH WITHOUT A RECEIPT!!! You keep paying rent to the landlord because he or she may be fighting the foreclosure. But you have to keep up with what is going on because if the landlord looses and a final judgment of foreclosure is entered by the judge against the landlord then the property goes into a state of limbo. I say that because somehow the landlord may be able to suddenly come up with the money and buy back the property before someone else does. If the landlord buys back the property, then you keep paying the landlord. If the landlord does not buy it back, you need to make sure you are paying the RIGHT person. What if a sneaky landlord says pay me, then the bank says, "No. Pay me!" Who do you pay? Ideally, you would either pay into the court registry (a sort of trust account until things get sort out) or, you start paying the rent to the new landlord when a official "certificate of sale" is entered by the clerk

5

Is it a good idea to hire an attorney or at least go to court?

Sure. At least this way the court knows you exist and that there is a tenant living on the property. You could get forgotten about and go unnoticed. The new owner could walk up one day and say, "Who are you?" You say, "I'm the tenant." They say, I bought this house or building 3 months ago, give me three months rent and a deposit because the old landlord never gave me the deposit." You say, "I've been paying the bank (or the landlord) and I don't have another deposit." They say, "Get out." You say, "You have to give me 90 days under the new Obama law." They say, "I don't care, get out." If you or your attorney goes to court, you can go "on the record" and state that you are a tenant that you live there and that you want to make sure you don't pay two landlords at the same time.

6

Should I be looking at other places to live just in case?

Yes, it could not hurt, Especially if you are not going to go to court and are not going to hire an attorney and your are not going to answer the Complaint (Pleadings) (Law suit): the document the process server brought to your door. You only have 20 days to answer that anyway! What do you write? I DO NOT recommend representing yourself Pro Se, but you you always have the right to represent yourself. The complaint has numbered paragraphs from top to bottom. For each paragraph, you write, "Admitted", "denied" or "without knowledge". It's ok to write without knowledge on all answers if you don't know. If you do know, you should put what you know. You also have to file with the clerk, and give stamped (certified) copies to all opposing parties. Certified mail is good, so they cannot say they never got your answer. Sign your name and write pro se. But still show up to court. If you don't feel comfortable writing the answer, show up to court. If there is a lawyer, you have to talk lawyer on

Additional Resources

Mr. Misdemeanor

Mr. Misdemeanor's Blog

Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act

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Related Topics

Property foreclosure

If you miss too many mortgage payments, your lender can start foreclosure proceedings to take ownership of the property, but it has to follow your state's laws.

Landlord-tenant law

Landlord-tenant law is governed mostly by state laws, and covers issues like security deposit limits and deadlines, evictions, and the right to withhold rent.

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