What Are Your Lease Rights After Foreclosure?
Few things leave you feeling quite as powerless as a foreclosure—especially when you don’t even own the property. As a tenant, you may be very careful about paying your rent in full and on time every month.
When a foreclosure notice hits your mailbox, it’s an incredibly unwelcome surprise. If you’re in this position now, it is crucial to act quickly. You must learn about your rights while your rented home is in foreclosure and take steps to protect them.
We’re here to help you during this uncertain time. Call Evans Law at 410-431-2599 to set up a consultation right away.
Your Lease Rights Under Foreclosure
If you have a non-disturbance, and attornment agreement (SNDA) in your lease agreement, then you are protected from being evicted if the property goes into foreclosure. But even without that agreement, you still have rights in the state of Maryland. In fact, your rights begin with the notice of foreclosure. Maryland has specific laws in place about how and when foreclosure must be announced.
The company intending to sell the property in a foreclosure sale must send a written notice to the property in question. It must be addressed to “all occupants” and contain information regarding the foreclosure. Furthermore, it must be sent at least 45 days ahead of the sale.
Your lease carries over with the sale of the home. In fact, the rights you and your current landlord have remain the same—but the landlord’s rights pass to the new owner. On the same note, the obligations you and your landlord have to each other carry over with a foreclosure.
Can You Stay on the Property?
For the time being, you can generally assume that you can continue to occupy the property you are leasing. Again, your lease is still in place—assuming that you are in a year-long lease, that may give you some time to explore your options. Even if you are in a month-to-month lease, you are legally entitled to 90 day’s notice before your lease is ended.
These rights exist for “bona fide” tenants. Those who are excluded from this category include the parents, spouses, and children of the original landlord. Other excluded parties may include those whose rent is substantially below fair market value, except as required by law.
If the new owner will not be occupying the property, they must allow you to rent the property until 90 days after the initial notice or the end of your lease—whichever is later. If they are planning on occupying the property, they do not have to honor your lease until its end date. They can simply give you a 90-day notice.
To make this even more complicated, how the home was advertised may affect your rights. If the home was advertised as having one or more tenancies, the new purchaser automatically becomes the landlord when the sale takes place.
Nonjudicial Eviction and Your Rights
As you may imagine, tenants are sometimes subject to new owners who aren’t thrilled to inherit tenancies. They may want to rent the property out at a higher rate or to family members.
Inexperienced landlords will sometimes try to circumvent laws preventing them from evicting tenants by engaging in nonjudicial eviction. Nonjudicial eviction is anything that attempts to take the property from the resident by force or by making the property unlivable. These actions include:
- Changing the locks and locking the tenants out
- Turning off services like heat, water, and electricity
- Making the property uninhabitable in any way
Protecting Your Rights in Foreclosure
Knowing your legal rights is a big part of this battle. However, it’s not much comfort if you’ve been threatened with forcible eviction or come to the property to find your locks changed. That’s why it’s so important to talk to a real estate attorney as soon as possible.
Inexperienced or reluctant landlords are prone to making huge errors that are not only unethical but often illegal as well. With the help of a real estate attorney, you can assert your rights and get the time you need to figure out a new and more stable living situation.
Discuss Your Legal Needs with Evans Law
If you’ve been targeted by an unethical landlord or found yourself facing the stress of foreclosure on your rented property, don’t wait to get the help you need. Call Evans Law at 410-431-2599 or reach out online to set up a consultation now.