What should I do about a tenant who was scammed by someone other than me into renting my vacant home?

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What should I do about a tenant who was scammed by someone other than me into renting my vacant home?

I have filed and been approved for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. I am surrendering my home as part of the bankruptcy and am waiting for the bank to take possession of the home. We have not lived in it for 8 months. I found out yesterday that somewone pretending to be me had rented my vacant house to someone and took off with the deposit and first months rent. The way I see it is I can try to evict the person who was scammed and is now living in my house, or I could sign a legitimate rental agreement with this person and make a few extra bucks until the bank takes the home and help out this person who was scammed, or ignore the whole situation and let the bank deal with when they eventually take possession of the home. What are my rights? Legally speaking what is the best way to protect myself? What are the pro’s and cons to each of these scenarios.

Asked on August 24, 2011 California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you have filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which is a re-organization and you are surrendering your home to the lending institution holding the first mortgage (trust deed) on the property, you need to advise the bankruptcy trustee, your bankruptcy lawyer (if you have one), the bankruptcy court and the lender about the renters in your home who apparently leased the home from someone pretending to be its owner while you are still the owner of record.

You need to do this as soon as possible so that you are shown to be above board and not a part of this apparent illicit activity.

You should also advise law enforcement about what happened as well.

Do not sign any lease agreement with the people in your home or take any money from them. You should suggest that they also contact law enforcement over what happened.


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