In 2009, Congress passed the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. Before this legislation was enacted, tenants in homes under foreclosure faced displacement or immediate eviction, even though they were innocent third parties. This often led to tenants facing imminent eviction even when they paid rent to their landlords.
Often, their landlords didn’t pay their mortgages after they collected their rent from their tenants. Unless tenants lived in states with foreclosure laws protecting them, they usually had no choice but to leave their homes and surrender their security deposits with little or no notice. However, the new federal law gives all tenants limited rights during foreclosure, even though they weren’t previously protected by their own states’ laws. Because foreclosure usually terminates the lease agreement between you and your landlord, you would have been left with few viable choices before 2009.
The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009
The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act expires on December 31, 2012, unless Congress extends it. Under the new law, all tenants have at least 90 days to find new housing during foreclosure. In some cases, you may even have more than 90 days before your new landlord can evict you. If you have a written lease agreement, you can finish your lease term. If you do not have a written lease agreement, you have at least 90 days to leave.
When Does the 90-Day Clock Start?
The 90-day period begins with notice. Usually, “notice” means a written notice to vacate.
Are There Any Exceptions?
Tenants who aren’t considered “bona fide tenants” aren’t protected by the law. For instance, if you are a close relative of the foreclosed-upon landlord, you probably won’t be able to benefit from this law. Also, if you pay less rent than others do in similar circumstances, you probably won’t receive this protection. Finally, if the new owner intends to live in the property, you only have 90 days before facing eviction.
Virginia Foreclosure Laws for Landlords and Tenants Recap
To recap, all tenants have at least 90 days after notice before their new landlords can evict them. Some tenants may have more than 90 days.
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