Tenant Rights During Foreclosure
What are your rights as a tenant when your landlord is facing foreclosure? If you are a tenant remitting payment dutifully to your landlord each month, you assume that your landlord is just as dutiful in making the mortgage payment. Unexpectedly, however, you arrive home to find a foreclosure notice on your front door. The landlord, unbeknownst to you, has not been paying the mortgage and is in default. The bank is proceeding with foreclosure, and you are left with a myriad of questions: How will this affect me? What are my rights as a tenant? Do I have to move?
In the past, foreclosures invalidated existing leases, forcing tenants to move out on short notice; however, in May of 2009, tenants were finally given rights when the federal government passed the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. This provides tenants who do not have a lease, or those who have a month-to-month lease, to be given at least 90 days’ notice before they are required to vacate the property.
If the tenant has a lease lasting longer than a month, this act permits tenants to remain in the home for the remainder of the lease. It is only after the lease expires that an eviction can proceed. Please keep in mind, however, that if the buyer of the foreclosed property intends to use the home as a primary residence, he has the right to terminate the existing lease, but may only do so after providing the tenants with 90 days notice. As with any situation similar to this, I would highly recommend that you speak with an attorney before speaking to the landlord or anyone else, so that the facts and circumstances of your particular situation can be properly evaluated. Once you have the assurance you are seeking, and a game plan going forward, you will be able to make an informed decision for yourself and your family.
Hopefully you will never come home to find a foreclosure notice on your front door, but if you do, knowing your rights can help you make the best out of a bad situation.