Tenants' rights in a forceclosure

Tenants' rights after a foreclosure

New owners generally must honor existing rental agreements (leases)

Generally, the new owner must honor the existing rental agreements. But, the new owner can end some rental agreements, if they give legal notice. For example, they can end a month-to-month rental agreement. They can also end a rental agreement with a landlord who lives in the home that is being foreclosed on.

In these cases, if the new owner does not want to continue with the existing agreement, they can

  • Offer the existing tenants a new lease or rental agreement
  • Give notice they're ending the lease

If the new owner chooses to end the lease or rental agreement, the new owner must give the tenants at least 90 days’ notice. If the tenants do not move out by the end of the new owner can start an eviction case in court.

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It's illegal to change a tenant's locks without a court order. To get an order to change the locks (evict), the new owner must go through the court eviction process. 

Tenants have extra rights if they're being evicted from a home that was foreclosed

There are other rights that tenants have in an eviction court case that happens after a foreclosure. For example, if a tenant is not named in the papers that start the eviction case (called a Complaint), they may be able to challenge the eviction at any time during the case or after the judgment for eviction is made. 

Some cities and counties have more laws that protect tenants from eviction

Tenants in some California cities may still have a right to stay in their buildings. Cities with eviction or rent control laws prohibit new owners from using the foreclosure as a reason for evicting tenants.

You can record a Request for Notice form in your county recorder’s office. This form asks that you be notified of any foreclosure proceedings. You will then receive a copy of the Notice of Default and Notice of Sale and know the status of the foreclosure.  You can buy a Request for Notice at stores that sell legal forms or get 1 from the customer service department of a title company.

Help for tenants in foreclosed properties

There are resources for tenants to get more information about their rights.

If you need additional information, talk to a lawyer. 

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