What can we do if we are being sued for eviction and damages but vacated the foreclosed premises over 2 months ago?

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What can we do if we are being sued for eviction and damages but vacated the foreclosed premises over 2 months ago?

Our home has been foreclosed and sold in an auction. We voluntarily left within the 3 days to vacate when the notice was received. We contacted the attorneys office and advised them that we had left and an eviction was not necessary. The home has been vacant for 2 months and we now have received a notice stating eviction has started and that we are being sued for damages and eviction. What can we do to stop this? What are our rights?

Asked on March 26, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Two different issues are involved:

1) Eviction--eviction is not just the physical removal of a tenant; it is also establishing the landlord/owner's right to possession. Therefore, eviction proceedings are sometimes carried forward when a tenant has left, to close out any right the tenant may have to return. You should be able to contact opposing counsel and/or the court, explain that you have left and given up your right to possession, and ask if perhaps you can simple sign a stipulation or consent judgment memorandizing that you've give up possession, rather than having to go to court.

2) Damages--if you damaged the property you may be sued for the cost to repair, even if you have already moved out, to the extent such has not already been satisfied or paid out of your security deposit. Or if you left prior to the expiration of your lease, or otherwise owed unpaid or back rent, you may be sued for the rental amounts you owe. So there are legitimate grounds to sue you; first step is to find out *why* you're being sued and for *what.* Then you can decide whether to fight the suit (e.g. if you think you don't owe that money) or not.


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