How Can You Find Out If a Home Will Be Foreclosed?

Updated on August 20, 2011
L.C. asks from San Lorenzo, CA
14 answers

My landlord has been getting notices from their bank regarding the home that we currently live in. We've been getting notices and certified mail for about 5 and on. We've notified our landlord about the notices, they say that they are planning to re-fi the home. The notices stopped for about 3 months..and just yesterday the mailman left a "we missed you notice", but again it was a certified mail for my landlord. It was definitely their bank again. I emailed the landlord letting them know that we received another notice and if they would like to pick up the letter from the post office.

Now, my question...can we, as the tenants find out if this home is going to be foreclosed? I'm stressed over this situation because we have a lot to do and a lot going on for our family of 6 right now. What should I do? Plan B? Should I ride it out and see how things go?

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answers from Waco on

I think every state or area must be different, because my husband had a house foreclosed on (he didn't make September's payment and by April the rent monies where going to the bank) that had renters in it, and they just started paying the bank the rent in April in June they "auctioned" the house and the back taxes then the renters had 60 days to move but they didn't get assistance and did have to pay the rent until the end. This was in 2007 so things may have changed since then.

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answers from San Francisco on

My husband is a real estate broker, and he said to go down to County Records and ask. (Alternately, if you have a realtor friend, they can search county records for you.) Usually 90 days after the owner stops paying the mortgage, a notice of default is filed. If a Notice of Default has been filed, it will be on record with the County. 90 days after the Notice of Default, the bank can file a Notice of Foreclosure. After that, it takes ~45 days for the Sheriff to show up and kick you out. But the bank will communicate with you, the tenant, before that happens.

Around here, after the Foreclosure notice is filed, generally the bank will send someone over to give you (the tenant) "cash for keys" - in other words, they'll give you a lump sum of money in order to leave the house. They try to work with you on the timing so it's not like you'll just be out on the street one day. Sometimes, the bank doesn't act on the foreclosure right away, and if that's the case, you may be able to live there for quite some time rent-free. If a notice of foreclosure has been filed, do not pay your landlord any more rent, because your landlord no longer owns the house.

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answers from Detroit on

I work in Real Estate, forclosures happen WAY faster than 5 months. The forclosure process starts the day you are past your grace period. It doesnt take long. When refi'in there is TONS of paperwork. Im sure thats whats going on.

You can tell by tax records whether a house is in forclosure or not.

Its completely untrue that you cannot refi rental homes. I do that all day. And we have refi'ed our rental home.

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answers from Phoenix on

Not only should you not be opening anyones mail but you should not sign for it either. Any realtor should be able to tell you if its in foreclosure status or not. If I were you, I would start looking for another place to live. Good luck.

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answers from Tulsa on

You know the name of the bank right? I would call or go in and show them your lease. Ask them to please tell you if it is about to be foreclosed because you are paying rent and can't afford to be homeless with 6 kids.
They may not be "allowed" but they might give you a sign like "I would move if I were you." Your landlord is not being honest and forthcoming. Refi letters should go to his current address. In fact, I would tell the bank, in case they didn't know, that he doesn't live there and here is his phone number to get his current address. The bad thing is the bank would not refinance a rental under the rules of the bailout. The person can only refinance the home they actually live in.

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answers from San Francisco on

depending on where you live but the county recording office will have it posted (it's public record) if the house is in foreclosure the owner may either give you a new lease or rental agreement or provide you with a 60-day eviction notice. however other laws may prohibit an eviction or provide you with a longer notice before eviction. This is what we have been told. It might vary from bank to bank. Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

open one of the letters and get the name of the attorney / bank that is sending them. call them and say right up front ok I am not "X" person but we rent from them. What is going on. They legally can not give you any info. However your name will now appear as renters of the property. these notices will also start coming in your name. you will know whats going on. you can go to the court proceedings to see what is going on. stay as long as you can. keep paying your rent. keep reciepts. this is important later on. when the foreclosure happens the bank will send a realestate person out to see you. they will say you have to be out at the end of the month. this is not true. tell them no. they will counter with they will start eviction proceedings. this is also not true. they are legally bound at least in illinois to give you 90 days. they will also offer relocation money. My daughter got 3 months of free rent plus $3000 of relocation money. the house had to be broom clean and all garbage removed. A previous poster said that foreclosures can happen sooner than 5 months. A bank won't even start procedures until you are at least 6 months behind. There is then a series of steps the bank has to take. A foreclosure takes at a minimum a year to get done unless the home has been abandoned and is empty. This is why you need to have your ducks in a row. get in touch with the bank now have your lease and your rent receipts. the government passed a law protecting renters from this happening. private message me if you need more info

They are right you should not open anyone elses mail however you can get the name of the bank / law firm from the envelope.

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answers from San Francisco on

Ok the easiest place to go and get basic infomation on the foreclosure status is and do a search of the address. There is a foreclosure tab that will say nothing on file or pre foreclosure on x date or auction scheduled for x date or bank owned. The site does have lag time on most recent data ubt it gives you an idea an a place to keep watch.

Pre-foreclosure status could last 3 mo or 5 mos if its a covered loan (taken out 2003 to 1/2008). Pre-foreclosure status means there is a notice of default on record.

Auction status means the NOD is done and now its going to auction to become bank owned. The sale is approx 3 weeks from date of notice.

Either status can be put on hold if they are trying to modify the loan. I've seen them postponed 6+ months and then fall off the auction list because they worked it out.

Call the cmpany that keeps sending the notices and let them know you are renting the house. You live there and they can't give specifics but they can give public data that you can go to the cunty and get which is the default notices. If any of the notices are from a trustee service, call thm they can give you current statuses including holds on the notices.

If you are in a lease provide that to the lender. Under certain circumstances they have to honor the lease. If they do foreclose then they have to give 90 days notice before kicking you out. Some lenders wil give you cash for keys if you move sooner.

If the owner is pocketing your money and not paying the lender then that becomes a civil case if you choose to pursue fighting to get your deposit back. Typically in these situations they've already spent yur deposit. If I does foreclose and you are on the 90 days notice and are going to move, use that 90 days to not pay and save your money for the next place. Right now you have an agreement to pay monthly to the landlord. The minute it is bank owned DO NOT pay them a dime and begin working with the lender on your next steps.

God luck, feel free to message me if you have more questions.

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answers from Sacramento on

If it comes to foreclosure you need to ask the Bank about the Cash for Keys option that they may have. We received more than $3000 to move out of our place within a certain number of weeks (I think it was two weeks). Since you seem to have some time to look, look now. The Cash for Keys saved us big time.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Have you ever returned the mail to sender? Why would their mail be coming to a rental? Odd.
You can also check at the county clerk's office, I think.

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answers from Washington DC on

As others say, there are ways to find out. I just wanted to add -- if the house is headed for foreclosure, start looking now for another place to live. You have to stay on top of things if foreclosure is on the way, because it sounds like your landlord is, frankly, very disorganized and lax, and possibly just refusing to see reality, if he or she is heading for foreclosure and not dealing with it.

Your lease terms may mean you can't move out, without some form of penalty, until a certain date. But what that means if the house is sold out from under you I don't know. I would say first find out exactly what's going on re: foreclosure or not, and then consult a real estate attorney or (cheaper) get a Realtor, if you know one, to find out what your status would be legally.

Our neighbors and dear friends just lost their house to foreclosure despite all their attempts to work through the system, charities and others to keep it and work with the bank. They had a renter in their basement and despite the landlord's repeatedly giving the renter full info on what was going on, and the landlord's telling the renter to find another place (with several months' notice), the renter just flaked out, didn't look for a new place, and refused to acknowledge reality and didn't leave the house until hours before the sheriff came to serve the formal eviction notice -- by which time our friends had already moved out after warning the renter that the sheriff had the power to take him out in handcuffs if necessary, if he remained in place. At least you're not in that boat and won't be, because you're staying on top of this. Good luck and do get professional advice -- the legalities may be different for you in Calif. than for folks who post here, so find help specific to your state rental laws.

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answers from Youngstown on

You can look up info on the house,like how much it was bought for,how much it is worth,if there are leins and if it's in forclosure. I am pretty sure it's the county auditors website. Why is the mail coming to your house? Doesn't the bank know it's a rental,if not I think that is not right either. I would return them to the post office or call the bank,

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answers from Sacramento on

I can't answer the information on foreclosure question.. fortunately, it seems others have been able to do that for you. What I can tell you is that we just went through a loan modification process and learned that everyone involved with the bank seems to think they can call or write you with 'important information' regarding the process. I was getting really stressed until my husband talked to the one person he was working with on the loan mod, and she told him that if anyone else in the bank's system had anything to communicate with us, we were to tell them firmly that they needed to put it in writing and mail it. That gave us the opportunity to read what they said and then discuss it with her before acting on any of it. This doesn't mean a lot for you, except to say that you probably don't need to stress too much over the written notices you've been getting, but simply keep on giving them to the landlord. And, if someone should get the 'bright idea' to phone you from the bank, don't let them rattle you, but simply refer them to the landlord.

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answers from Orlando on

I don't know if there is a way to find out, I would suggest contacting a lawyer. They will be able to tell you what your rights are. It sounds like even though you have been paying rent (I assume) your landlord has not been paying the bank.
A friend of a friend had this happen to them and they came home one day to a lock on the door from the bank and they had to have a lawyer make it so that they could get their stuff out, basically they were screwed.

Sorry I couldn't be more positive help. Good luck!!! THis is the main reason we decided not to rent and our borrowing money from family (agh!) to purchase our new home. It's a long story but this is the best option for us right now.

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