Legal Issues & Renting

What to do if your landlord is foreclosed upon

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You’ve been renting your apartment for awhile, and love the location, the price and your neighbors. But one day you receive the startling news that your landlord is embroiled in foreclosure, and now your future in your home is in question.

Renters have rights when banks foreclose on landlords. President Barack Obama signed the “Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009” when many properties were in foreclosure, including rental properties. This act allows renters to stay in their units until their leases expire, or if they are on a month-to-month lease agreement, receive 90 days notice before they must move. If the building is purchased, and the new owner does not want renters in the building, a 90-day notice is required, even for renters who have a lease lasting longer than the 90 days. Some states have stronger legislation in place supporting tenants, which comes into play prior to the federal law. The act was extended through Dec. 31, 2014.

However, renters might not see maintenance continue on the property. The old landlord doesn’t own the property any longer (and should not be collecting rent), and the new landlord or the bank might have more interest in trying to find a buyer for the property, rather than maintaining it.

In this case, you may be interested in breaking the lease. Contact the new (or temporary) owner of the property and ask if you can end your lease early. Negotiate with the new landlord, and make certain your negotiations include written verification that the landlord will not add a negative mark to your rental history report.