What are a Tenant’s Rights when his Home is in Foreclosure?

Many Anthem residential tenants have become victims of their landlord’s inability to pay their mortgages.  When a landlord fails to pay the amount due on a mortgage, banks have the option to foreclose on the property rented.  One result in this situation is that the new owner of the property may evict the tenant.

A tenant who is evicted from an Arizona residence because of a foreclosure may have a claim against their landlord for damages.  The general rule in Arizona is that if a tenant has is current on their rent but is evicted, in part, because the bank foreclosed on the landlord’s interest in the property, the landlord has breached the lease because of the premature termination of the tenant’s lease.  In other words, the tenant had the right to possession of the home and the original landlord is liable for the damages the tenant suffers because of the eviction.

The tenant has this right because when they sign a lease, they have priority over all others to occupy the home for the term of the lease.  So long as the tenant remains current on their lease, the landlord is contractually obligated to make the home available to the tenant for as long as the terms of the lease require.  Generally, the only way a landlord can avoid this type of liability is when the lease contains provisions that terminate the lease in the event of a foreclosure.

The tenant may be able to recover damages in the form of costs entering into a new lease, costs to move, utility hook-up charges on a new rental, offset of higher rent that is paid on a new lease, and other items that can be proven and that are caused by the landlords breach of the lease.  The tenant also may request damages related to the landlord’s failure to refund a security deposit.

If a court awards damages to the tenant, the judgment against the landlord would have to be enforced.  If the landlord refuses to pay the tenant, the tenant could initiate a collection process.  This process could include, but is not limited to, filing a lien on the landlord’s properties (if they have other property) and garnishing wages (applicable when the landlord has wages from employment and works in Arizona).

If this situation sounds familiar to you, or you know someone in such a circumstance, call The Carroll Law Firm to seek advice on how to proceed.  We look forward to your call.

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