Do I Need to Move Out?

Eric rents a home, and he wasn't told the house was in foreclosure until after he moved in. Who legally owns the property at this point, and can the party in foreclosure make money off the property?

QUESTION: Eric in Illinois rents a home, and he wasn’t told the house was in foreclosure until after he moved in. Who legally owns the property at this point, and can the party in foreclosure make money off the property? Dave breaks the situation down for him.

ANSWER: The owner owns the property until the day of foreclosure. After the foreclosure, if the bank wants the utilities on in the house that they own, they would have to pay them. Until the foreclosure, it would depend on, in your case, whether you are responsible for the utilities. If they are included in the rent, the landlord would be responsible for them. If he wants to continue to collect your rent, he needs to keep your utilities on. Otherwise he’ll be in default on the lease.

If there isn’t another hearing on the matter until October, then it’s going to be a while. He’s going to own the property until then. As long as he keeps the lights on and keeps the property operating properly, you won’t be harmed by continuing to rent.

You know you’re in an unstable environment and not going to be there five years. But you also know that as long as he keeps your utilities on, you may want to stay at least until October. It sounds like you’re going through a transition yourself, and by October you might be ready to move on anyway.

I don’t think you’re in harm’s way at all. But keep abreast of the foreclosure. As long as you’re getting a property at a price you agreed to, you have not been harmed. There’s not an issue there, and it’s perfectly legal. If you want to leave, you don’t have a lease, so I guess you could just give him notice and tell him you’re going to move because you don’t like this situation. But I don’t see anything where you are being harmed.

You just know you are dealing with a guy who you can be assured is not going to be able to fix the heating and air if it goes out and costs $3,000. You know there won’t be any big repairs done. Keep it in the back of your mind that you may have to find a place to live in that situation. But as long as it’s good for you right now, I think it’s fine.

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