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

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2011

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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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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