Was Your Landlord Foreclosed? You Have Rights!

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Was Your Landlord Foreclosed? You Have Rights!

You DO NOT have to move right away when your apartment is foreclosed!  The new owner may try to evict you, but you have rights. After a foreclosure the bank or a new landlord owns the property and is responsible for it.

Find out if your apartment was foreclosed

Call or visit the clerk‘s office of your nearest Superior Court. Ask the clerk if your landlord still owns the property.  If your landlord still owns the property, keep paying your rent to your landlord and read our article, Is Your Landlord Going Through Foreclosure? What a Tenant Needs to Know.

If your apartment was foreclosed…

You don't have to move out right away

  • If you have a written lease, you can stay until the end of your lease
  • If you don’t have a written lease, the new owner has to give you at least 90 days written notice before starting an eviction. 
  • If the new owner is Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (Federal National Mortgage Association or Federal Home Loan Corporation), you have to be offered a new month-to-month lease at least until the property is sold to the next owner.

Paying rent

Pay rent to the new owner with a check or money order.  If you can’t find the new owner, or he refuses your rent, keep a record of how you tried to pay and keep the rent money in a safe place.  If the new owner tries to evict you, show the court your records.

Your section 8 or rent subsidy

The new owner has to take over your lease and the contract with the Housing Authority if you have Section 8 or another rent subsidy. Make sure you tell your Housing Authority about the foreclosure.  If you have Section 8, you may be able to renew your lease. Talk to your worker.

Repairs and utilities

The new owner must provide the same repairs, maintenance and utilities as your old landlord.  If the new owner stops paying heat or utilities, call the utility company right away and tell them the situation.  If the new owner doesn’t make repairs, call your town housing or building code agency and make a complaint. See our article, Tenants’ Rights: Repairs.

Sometimes the bank will offer you money to move out earlier than you have to.  The offer must be the HIGHEST of: 1) two month's rent, 2) two times the security deposit, or 3) $2,000. If the offer is less than this amount, call the Attorney General's office at 860-808-5318.

If the new owner starts an eviction against you…

Tip! Only a judge can order you to move out!

If your landlord wants to evict you, you may get a Kapa Notice or a Notice to Quit.

If you get a Kapa Notice or Notice to Quit, talk to your landlord to try to solve the problem, or talk to a lawyer. Call Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320.

If the problem is not solved and you do not leave, your landlord may ask the court to evict you. If this happens, a marshal will give you a Summons and a Complaint.

If you get a Summons and Complaint, don’t ignore it!

  1. Within 2 days of the “return date” on the Summons, fill out an Appearance (JD-CL-12) and Answer (JD-HM-5). Get the forms online or from the court.
    • If the new owner didn’t give you 90 days notice before he started the eviction, tell the court in your Answer form. Check the box in the Special Defenses section of the Answer
    • If you are elderly or disabled and live in a building with at least 5 units, you can’t be evicted just because the property was foreclosed. Check the box in the Special Defenses section of the Answer.
  1. Make 2 copies of your completed forms.
  2. Give the original to the Court and give or mail a copy to the new owner.

Most courthouses have a court service center that can help you with court forms.

Important!  If you do not fill your forms out completely, correctly, and on time, you may lose your case.

After you give your forms to the court

The court will mail you a letter that says the time and date of your trial. If you do not go to court for your trial, your landlord will probably win and you will be evicted. If this happens, a marshal can make you move out with as little as 24 hours notice.

At Court

You and your landlord will speak to a Housing Specialist first. The Housing Specialist will try to help you make an agreement instead of having a trial. If you can make an agreement, you, the landlord, and the judge will sign it. You will each get a signed copy of the agreement.

You can also make an agreement on your own with the landlord. But talk to the Housing Specialist before you sign it.

Important!  Only sign an agreement if you can do what it says. If you disobey the agreement, you can be evicted very quickly.

If you can’t make an agreement, you will have a trial

At the trial a judge will decide your case. When the judge calls your case:

  1. The landlord will speak first. He will explain why you should be evicted. He may show the judge papers or other evidence.
  2. The judge will ask you to tell your side of the case. You should explain why you should not be evicted. You can also show the judge papers, photos, and other evidence.
  3. The judge may ask you, the landlord, or any witness questions. You can also ask questions, when it’s your turn.
  4. The judge will probably make a decision at the trial.  Sometimes the judge decides later and the court mails the decision to you and your landlord.
  • If you win, you get to stay in your apartment.
  • If you lose, you will have to move out.

See our article, Eviction.

Your security deposit

Whoever owns the property when you move out has to return your security deposit.  It doesn’t matter if your old landlord never gave the deposit to the new owner.  When you move out, write a letter to the new owner with your new address and a copy of the security deposit receipt if you have it.  Mail your letter by regular mail and certified mail with return receipt requested. Keep a copy.  If you’re not sure who the owner is, mail the letter to the bank's attorney, realtor, or anyone else who has contacted you. 

The owner has 30 days after you move to return your deposit plus interest. If you have problems getting your deposit back call the State Banking Department at 860-246-8154 or 1-800-831-7225 ext. 8154.  See our article, Tenants' Rights: Security Deposits.

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