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I have been getting a lot of questions from tenants whose landlord is in foreclosure what their legal status is.   First you should check the status of the foreclosure on the Clerk of Court’s website.  In Broward that is  http://www.clerk-17th-flcourts.org/ClerkWebsite/welcome2.aspx.

Choose “online Services” and “Civil” as type of case  http://www.clerk-17th-flcourts.org/Clerkwebsite/BCCOC2/OdysseyPA/CaseSearch.aspx?SelectCourt=true&DisplayCitation=no&DisplayType=Civil

to see the status.   You can also try calling the Clerk at 954-831-5745.  Foreclosures generally only have one five minute court hearing called the ” Summary judgment .”  This is where the bank claims that the borrower has raised no defenses and the judge should grant the foreclosure automatically.   When this happens,  the Clerk of Court sets an auction date – generally six to eight weeks later.  After the auction check again to see if the sale went through or  was cancelled.  If the sale went through and the bank was the high bidder (usually the case)   Federal law requires the bank to give the tenant a written 90 day notice to vacate.  If the tenant had a lease that pre-dated the foreclosure,  the bank has to let you live out your lease.

Because there are so  many foreclosures the banks frequently cancel the sale because they do not actually want to come into title on the property yet.  Especially if it is a condo and they would have to start paying the assessments as the new owner.  The judges seem to be willing to let these foreclosures languish in the court system with no activity for years.   So if you are a tenant, a mortgage foreclosure should not be something that  takes you by surprise,  much less actually interferes with your lease.

A bigger  concern to tenant is the landlord’s non-payment of condo assessments for two reasons: First, that the association can be very aggressive about foreclosing on the unpaid dues.  They move much faster than the mortgage companies and can finish their foreclosure within six months.  When the foreclosure is granted your lease is terminated too.  They probably would like to keep you,  but  you will have to renegotiate. The second risk is  that the  condo association can move to seize your rent.  In effect pushing your landlord aside and taking over. Then the landlord is no longer entitled to evict you for non-payment. Unfortunately for the tenant,  the association as landlord has no duties to maintain the property,  so you may not be happy about this change in landlords.  But at least you no longer have to worry that the dues aren’t being paid.

The filing of foreclosures does not eliminate your obligation to pay rent to the landlord until the foreclosure sale takes place or your get the notice of rent seizure from the condo association.  You may be willing to gamble that the landlord will not pay the fees to evict you for non-payment.  That is your call.

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