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What to do when your landlord gets foreclosed upon

Posted by attorney Raffy Boulgourjian

Tenants are usually the last to find out when the property they occupy gets foreclosed upon. A landlord has no legal obligation to inform their tenant of an impending foreclosure. However, I can speak to the rights of a California tenant caught in such a situation, and the news is quite good.

  1. You are entitled to 90 days written notice from any new owner before they can file an action to evict you. If you receive anything less (3 days, 30 days, 60 days) you have been given improper notice. Contact an attorney. If you must leave, you just got 3 months’ notice to do so.

  2. If you have a written lease which entitles you to a remaining term, the new owner steps into the shoes of your former landlord. Present your written lease to the new owner, be it the bank or a buyer. You have the right to stay for the remaining term of your lease. However, make sure to pay rent to the new landlord, not the former one.

  3. Until the property is foreclosed upon, you must continue to pay rent to your landlord. This is where many tenants falter. Oftentimes, a tenant stops paying their landlord when they realize that the property is in foreclosure. By doing so, the tenant is handing the landlord a slam dunk case for eviction. As long as your landlord is still the owner, he or she is entitled to collect rent. Foreclosure in California requires the recording of several documents; ultimately showing the foreclosure sale date. Keep tabs on the foreclosure. If the landlord loses the property, you should receive notice from the new owner shortly. At this point, you should begin to make arrangements to pay rent to the new owner. If your former landlord demands rent after this point, do not pay it!

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