Are Tenants Required to Move Out During a Foreclosure?

Written on April 26, 2016 by , updated on March 5, 2017

Tenant Rights in a ForeclosureIf the worst happens, and you lose a property to foreclosure, does that foreclosure force a tenant to move out?

What does happen when there’s a foreclosure on a property with tenants?

The number of foreclosures rose by 81% during the two worst years of the U.S. financial crisis. While things have eased, there was another spike in 2015. These statistics serve notice to landlords and tenants alike that foreclosures remain an altogether too real possibility in uncertain times.

Some History

A 2009 federal law, the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, afforded tenants the right to continue to occupy the property for at least 90 days after the property changed hands because of foreclosure. In many cases, tenants were able to stay for the full duration of their lease. That law has since expired, as of Dec. 31, 2014.


Today, tenants still enjoy an occupancy grace period in some states. In others, they can be immediately evicted.

State-by-State Provisions

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, states that have no legislation regarding tenants’ rights in a foreclosure include Alaska, Colorado, Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia.

Those that allow immediate eviction include Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The remaining states allow tenants to continue to occupy foreclosed properties for various periods.

  • 3 days — Iowa, North Dakota, and Ohio.
  • 5 days — Delaware and Louisiana
  • 10 days — Alabama, Hawaii, Missouri, Montana, and North Carolina
  • 30 days — Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia
  • 60 days — Nevada and Washington
  • 90 days — California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island

Tenants in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island must demonstrate just cause to enjoy the full 90-day grace period. State legislatures determine what constitutes “just cause.”

Do Renters Have to Pay Rent During a Foreclosure?

Most states that favor mortgages over deeds of trust for the purchase of real property conduct judicial foreclosures, and they can lead to a drawn-out process that sometimes takes years. During this time, the landlord typically stops making payments to the mortgage company, and tenants may decide that, because of this, they can stop paying rent. This is never true. Two scenarios are possible:

1. The Mortgage Company Has a Rider

When a landlord purchases a property for rental, mortgage companies in every state typically attach a 1-4 Family Rider that gives the mortgage company the right to collect rent as soon as it has served the notice of default on the landlord (except in Michigan). The lender typically notifies tenants who must then pay rent directly to the mortgage company.

2. There Is No Rider

The landlord might have been renting out a personal residence to which no rider has been attached. In this case, tenants are bound to honor the terms of the lease agreement and continue paying rent to the landlord. Until the foreclosure proceedings result in a change of ownership, the landlord retains the right to initiate eviction proceedings for failure to pay rent.

After the Foreclosure

Tenants are still bound to honor the terms of their lease agreement even after the property changes hands. They must make rent payments to the new owner until such time as the lease expires or the owner offers a new lease or serves notice of eviction.

What About Maintenance?

Whoever owns the property retains the responsibility to keep it in habitable condition, and that can be a burden for a landlord going through foreclosure. It’s tempting to direct rent monies toward more pressing matters than a doomed rental property, but it’s wise to keep a healthy amount in a maintenance fund until the foreclosure has been finalized and the property has changed hands.

Related: How to Build an Emergency Fund for your Rental Properties


If you have questions regarding landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities, let me know in the comments!

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130 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Victor Pasqualicchio

    I am the owner of a condo in New Jersey and rent a room to a tenant for 5 years. Unfortunately, because of illness to me as I am now on SSDI and the condo dropping way underwater, I declared chapter 7 bankruptcy and just got my discharge. I have 3 survivable liens still against my condo but I owe just post filing condo dues and nothing else with no personal liability for any debt. Of course I need to work with a counseling agency or something when the bank decides to foreclose or do a deed in Lieu etc. I fear for my tenant, he has no money to get out right now. If he cannot find a place before I am still the owner what can happen? Can he get help from the same agency I will use? He is my friend and I am trying to help any suggestions?

  • maria lineman

    I am renting a house and the landlord is not repairing it. I have called L&I and made a complaint. The landlord knows I called L&I. Now she’s trying to sell the house before we go to court. Do I have a right to talk to the buyers to see if they will give me time to find another place? And can I still take her to court even when I move out?

  • Claire Metta

    I rent a home and the owner is in a nursing home and can not pay mortgage – she has a power of attorney who has just signed a “deed of lieu” with the bank the mortgage is owed to….she gave me 30 days to vacate the property…..I have not found a suitable place to live yet, and think that my rights should be 90 days….is that true? I have been a good tenant for three years….our lease is verbal……please advise

    • Victor Pasqualicchio

      Each Couty and State can have different laws on so many things. Sometimes it is a Federal Law. Time to move out given after a Deed in Lieu I believe is set at 30 days but you can go down to the Municipal County Clerks office and ask how you go about getting a “hardship extension” If it is not already 90 days. Go online and put in Deed in Lieu vacate timeframe for your county and State. I will try to get a more precise answer. I am not a lawyer so my response is no substitute for legal counsel advice. Let me see online if I can get a more precise answer to be cont hopefully.

  • Rahoman Deonarine

    How it’s possible for a tenant to purchase a foreclosure property he is living in
    What are his options

  • Cathy l

    The building I was living in was in foreclosure now we have new owners I paid my security one time I’ve been living here for 5 years she want me to pay another security is that legal I never received my security back from the old owners they gave us 90 days to get out can a sheriff just come and put your stuff out without going to court this I need to know now we have 30 days and I don’t know what to do appreciate if you text back

  • denise

    I have been renting a home in ny state for seven years, It went into foreclosure about a year ago. I just found out today that property was going to be auctioned on august 14, and only found out because there was a flyer posted at my local post office. My question is , how long before i will have to leave and should I have been notified of the upcoming auction?

  • Micha

    My husband and i are renting a home in brookland arkansas that has been sold in forclosure auction. We received a letter stating the owner had to respond in 10 days….. How long do we have to find a new place to live and how do we go about making sure we get the time?

  • Rashida

    Landlord was served a notice to sale May 22nd. I signed a lease with the landlord on June 9. On June 20th after only 11 days in the rental unit. I recieved notification from the purchaser(sheriff sale) that they purchased the property. Now my landlord filed for redemption for the property owing over 40,000 in taxes which they have not paid since 1997. Can i put my money in escrow? Since i have not had ” quiet enjoyment” of the property. And since they rented the property to me after notice of sale was given.

  • Damien Gillard

    As of today, my rental property is being foreclosed and purchased in an auction. My lease expires November 2019. I just paid August rent on the first and want to know what to do about rent going forward.. I am a SC resident.

  • Stacey Harper

    I am living in a home in California and I was just made aware that the house sold in auction due to and reverse mortgage! I have been living since April of this year, the owner passed in Dec I did know that however her son rented me a room in the house I have a signed years lease and am also paid up til Dec. What happens from here? Do I have any rights? I have no where to go and can’t afford anything since giving 6 months of rent! I would appreciate any kind of advise you could give on as what to do!!1

  • Walter Salgado

    hi were I live at we don’t have a lease but we have live here more than 5 years and today the owner told us that we have to move out cause they lost the property and I have kids what should I do please let me know thank u

  • Ralph Johnsrud

    What Montana code is it that says during foreclosure the tenant only has 10 days?
    Thank you in advance for your reply.



  • Tina Scotvold

    Hi I rent a room in a 5 bedroom house along with 3 other people who rent rooms. We all have full house privilges. We all also have leases. The landlord has had the house foreclosed on and the bank now owns it. We were not told it was foreclosed on till after the fact. My lease started on Jan1 2018 and ends Jan1 2019..:It is only Sept 28 2018. Do I have any rights . My lease isn’t even up yet. I live in California. Any info would be appreciated

  • john wilson

    what happens in states with no legislation on tenants rights when renting a room from the owner?

  • Mari

    I rent a studio at a house . The owners of the house just told us that he got a letter of 60 day move out.. and told us that he stop paying rent .. in this case what happens . Do I still need to pay rent .??im month to month

  • Melissa Karr

    My sister has lived in the home for 3 yrs. The owner has sold the home, so the neibors say they bought it. She has been given a paper un-notarized by the neibors.who clam they bought it. She cant always get a hold of the owner. Last time she talked to him he was thinking of selling. On line its still in his name.
    Doesnt she have to be served by a constable and or a notarized paper telling her shes been evicted? Everything between her and the owner has been verbal.
    Can the to be new owners kick her out before its on record that they own it? Even then once they own it. Dont they have to serve her with an evection notice? Shes in Arizona.
    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

  • David

    I’ve been leasing a home in NV since Dec. 2018. This home was in foreclosure and just sold in April, 2019. The new owner (a bank) is offering me cash for keys to move out in 45 days, which is impossible for me to do. I offered 60 days and they have said no. I have a bonafide lease thru Dec., but they are saying that my rent is below market rent. I pay $850/month which may have been $300 or so cheaper than the market in 2018. I know I have at least 90 days to move out at minimum, but can I stay through the lease and pay the rent to them, or if I move out within 90 days, do I still have to pay rent? And how do I determine whether or not the rent that is “substantially” lower than what it was in Dec. 2018 when I entered into the lease?

    • Victor Pasqualicchio


      Each State has it’s own set of rules first you must find out if NV is a Judicial State (Most all things must go through the court system) or Non-Judicial State when it comes to moving matters when foreclosure is involved and when tenant and landlord disputes occur. If NV is a judicial state you must go to your county’s clerks office in the county you reside and ask them the procedure to get extra time. I would be sure you have at least 90 days. If your state is non-judicial it could still be taken care of in court. If the landlord tries to change Locks or throw your clothes out etc., they could be cited for a criminal action. I am not a lawyer but I would first go online and go to sites like Avvo or Just Answer to talk to a lawyer

  • Debra Duda

    If tenants residing at property to be foreclosed on are disabled, can they be forced to move? I’m aware of the immediate removal, 90 day removal, etc. Just wanted to know if those options still apply for a disabled tenant.

  • Renita T Lucero

    I’m a tenant and found out on friday the house I’m renting is in forclosure. I was evicted and now the bank is saying I have 6 hours to move. Do l have rights to at least have 72 hours to move my belongings.

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