Every day, the news is filled with stories about the economy, housing prices and mortgage problems. Foreclosure rates are increasing, with several military-dense areas being hit hard. So, what happens if your off-base landlord stops paying the mortgage on your house and the house goes into foreclosure?
The bad news is that you will probably have to move. At foreclosure, the home will be purchased by either the lender, a new homeowner, or an investor. The purchaser nearly always chooses to terminate the tenantship when the property changes owners, except in the few states where that is not permitted. Depending on your situation, and the state that the property is located in, you may know for months ahead of time or it is possible that they could legally evict you within days of the foreclosure sale.
There are a lot of websites that can help you understand what happens in a foreclosure and how it affects you as a renter. Unfortunately, foreclosure laws vary widely from state to state. Here are a list of websites that talk about tenants and foreclosure. Please be aware that some of these sites are owned by for-profit companies. I have tried to make sure that none of them are too much like advertisements, but do know that there may be some information that might suggest that you need legal representation. If you feel that you need legal help with your particular problem, you can contact your base legal services offices or MilitaryOneSource for free help. While you may still have to move, knowing the state laws and your rights will lessen the stress as much as possible. Thankfully, the Joint Federal Travel Regulations have recently been changed to allow the military to provide moving assistance for renters displaced by foreclosure. See Some Relief for Military Renters for more information.
General Info: Foreclosure and Eviction Practices by State, Tenants Facing Foreclosure in Rental Property, Tenants Caught in Foreclosure, Landlord Association.org, Fannie Mae: Goal is To Avoid Evictions
Some State Specific sites:
Alaska: Landlord Tenant Book (page 52-53)
Connecticut: Is Your Landlord Going Through Foreclosure?
District of Columbia: DC Law Protects Tenants During Foreclosures
Illinois: Metropolitan Tenants Organization (check out the links files on the right hand column – they’re great!)
New Jersey: N.J. Renters Mostly Safe From Foreclosure
Pennsylvania: Foreclosure Fallout: Renters Forced Out Of Lost Homes