Foreclsure and eviction… Do I have to continue paying rent if my landlord has not paid the mortgage or we hve to move before the lease runs out?

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Foreclsure and eviction… Do I have to continue paying rent if my landlord has not paid the mortgage or we hve to move before the lease runs out?

We were served legal papers over the weekend that the house we are renting is going into foreclosure. We still have 6 months on the lease. What legal rights do I have if we are asked to leave before the lease runs out, or leave before the end of the month we have already paid for?

Asked on May 20, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

There really is nothing that tenants can do to if the property is foreclosed upon.  In Florida, it generally takes 180-200 days to conclude an uncontested foreclosure action. This should provide you plenty of time to make relocation arrangements; in fact this is when your lease would have been up anyway.

If the sale happens sooner, and you are still there, the new owner will most likely want to evict you.  In the case that the new owner is a bank (which seems to be your situation) you might find yourselves in a position to get  "cash for keys".  This is where the bank will pay some amount of the tenants relocation costs, if the tenant’s voluntarily and expeditiously vacate the premises.  This is often advantageous to the bank to make such a payment, instead of having to file an eviction action, which may cost more.  Typically, the tenant will have to request the bank for this, as it is not often voluntarily offered by banks.
As for whether or not you should continue paying rent until the foreclosure, I would tell you to continue your rent payments, otherwise you can be evicted.  A  person in foreclosure can clear up the problem at any minute - they can make back payments, they can refinance, they can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, etc.  You can get an eviction long before foreclosure is done, and that’s why you have to continue paying rent.

The eviction process can take as little as 14 days.  A foreclosure takes at least 90 days.

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