Tenants' rights when the landlord is in foreclosure

Posted about 5 years ago. Applies to Ohio, 5 helpful votes



Were you served a copy of the foreclosure complaint naming you as a tenant?

In Ohio, a party can name anonymous parties if they don't know the true name of the parties. Therefore, if there's a "John or Jane Doe" listed in the complaint and described as tenants of the property... you've been named and need to file a response to the foreclosure asserting your rights as a tenant. You may wish to retain an attorney (or inquire with the local Legal Aid society) to represent you. Your appearance, particularly with counsel, may result in giving you more time to make arrangements to move after the foreclosure. If you were not named and only learned of the foreclosure after the property was sold either to the bank or another party in a sheriff's sale under the foreclosure action....


A tenant of a foreclosed property who has a valid lease they have not breached is entitled to 90-day notice.

If you discover that your landlord is in foreclosure, you STILL must pay your rent. Check to see if a receiver has been appointed in the court. If so, rent should be paid to the receiver. Otherwise, pay the landlord until you receive notice that the property has been sold. A landlord cannot legally demand rent for a property they no longer own (unless the subsequent purchaser, normally the bank that held the mortgage, designates the landlord as their property manager) Under the federal Act, you are permitted to stay for the remainder of your lease so long as you comply with the lease UNLESS you receive 90-day written notice from the subsequent buyer that the buyer intends to occupy your premises as their PRIMARY residence.


A bank says that they have acquired my landlord's property in foreclosure and it has served me an eviction notice without giving me 90-days notice

The new federal act is a new law, and therefore, judges and magistrates who routinely hear eviction matters may not even be aware of it. (Landlord-tenant matters are normally the subject of state law. Many legal practicioners in the field, who have grown accustomed to an area of law that has shown little change over the years, have been slow to become aware of the existence of this federal law.) You may have to educate them, but you must do so with what is known in Ohio as the First Cause hearing. That hearing is to determine whether a Writ of Restitution (eviction order) should issue. Fail to raise it at the First Cause hearing, or worse, failing to attend, will be too late.

Additional Resources

Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act

Ohio Attorney General: Tenants Rights Regarding Foreclosure

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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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