What are my rights if my landlord leased me a property that was already in distress?

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What are my rights if my landlord leased me a property that was already in distress?

Asked on November 3, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you have a month-to-month rental agreement, you can move at any time. Just give your landlord a written 30-day notice.  If you have a lease, you'll have to negotiate with your landlord to leave early, and there's not much you can do if he won't let you out of the lease.  The fact that he's in default doesn't cancel the lease.  Only the foreclosure sale does that.  And your landlord may well want to continue collecting rent from you until the sale.  The fact is that even if a foreclosure action has already been filed, as long as the landlord remains the owner of record, a tenant must continue paying rent to them. Once title to the property passes at auction, you will be notified as to the sale/transfer date of the property.  After this time, the landlord will no longer be the legal owner. You'll be informed where to send your rental payments by the new owner. Note: Former landlords have been known to try and continue to collect rent even after they no longer own the property. So beware.

If you wish to stay after the foreclosure sale, you have certain rights. Tenants who have a written lease can continue to occupy the premises for the longer of: (1) the end of the lease period; or (2) 90 days. The only exception would be if the new owner intends to move in and occupy the home as their primary residence.  In such a case, a 90 day notice to move would apply.  Additionally, tenants on a month-to-month lease, have to be given at least 90 days notice to move (and state law may be even more generous).


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