Skip to main content

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

Belfair, WA |

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?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


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

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

Brett Thomas Sullivan

Brett Thomas Sullivan


I respectfully disagree with a portion of this response. If the bank has a valid and perfected first priority lien on the landlord's property, then this individual has no claim against the bank, presuming that the bank complies with the appropriate noticing requirements for a non-judicial foreclosure (I'm assuming that this is the method of foreclosure that the bank is pursuing) . This outcome would be different if either the lease was recorded or a Memorandum of Lease was recorded prior in time to the deed of trust recorded by the bank. I agree that the individual may have a claim as against the landlord's estate.

Michael T Millar

Michael T Millar


I stand by my response. If you have a contract to buy a property subject to a mortgage lien, the mortgage lien has to be paid off at closing. That is true in all transactions involving the purchase of a property (except where the mortgage will be assumed by the buyer with the permission of the lender). The mortgage holder has no ability to prevent you from buying the property. As a contract buyer, you have an equitable interest in the property even before the closing of title. If you have your financing in place, then pay-off the mortgage and buy the property. If the bank is standing in your way, take them to court.


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.

Posting questions and reviewing information received from AVVO does not create a lawyer client relationship and such information should not be construed as creating such a relationship.


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.


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

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer