Q I received papers that my landlord has been foreclosed on. The sheriff's sale is Sept. 9. My one-year lease ended Aug. 31.
I am current on my rent and there is no deposit involved. I know about the redemption period, but I got a call from a Realtor who told me he is short-selling this property on behalf of my landlord before the sheriff sale.
The Realtor said he wants me to meet the new owner and talk about a new lease. I really don't think I want to sign a new lease at this place because the Realtor said the rent for sure will go up.
The other person on the lease is handicapped.
A Despite the fact that there is a sheriff's sale, the lease goes on as though the property were purchased by someone else, with a few differences.
First, after the sheriff's sale there is a redemption period, which is generally six months. During the redemption period, the old landlord still has legal title to the property and still has the same rights and responsibilities as before the sale.
You should still pay rent as before and expect that the landlord will continue to maintain the property as in the past. During that period, the landlord could redeem the property by paying off the total amount owed or could sell the property to someone else, who could then redeem the property.
If the property is redeemed, it is as though there were no sheriff's sale, and all tenants' leases remain. If the property is not redeemed, then the tenant on a lease is entitled to at least two months' notice to vacate (effective Aug. 1). The notice can be timed to the date the redemption period expires, assuming that the person sending the notice agrees to indemnify the tenant if the property is redeemed, or one month after the redemption period expires without indemnification.
This is important, because if the tenant moves and the property is redeemed, the tenant is still responsible for the rent. In addition, this notice can be tied to a specific date and not the end of the month. So, this notice can be effective on the 14th of the month, and the tenant has to be out on that date.
It is also important to remember that the tenant is still responsible for abiding by the terms of the lease during the redemption period, including paying the rent.
Any tenant paying rent during this period should be extra careful to save copies of rent payments, including letters in which the payment is enclosed. If the landlord has hit the road, then you might consider posting the rent with the housing court office, so you can prove it has been paid.
In your case, you are on a month-to-month lease. Your current landlord (or anyone who buys the property) can give you a notice to vacate during the redemption period, and you then have to move, without any regard to the status of the redemption period.
I would be very careful about signing a new lease. If the buyer in the short sale actually purchases the property, then you can deal with them. I would simply tell the Realtor that you will hold off dealing with anyone until they actually buy the property.
Because you are on a month-to-month lease, you can give at least one month's notice and move. You should examine your lease. If there is a 60-day notice provision and you can give 60 days' notice, you should. If you fail to give appropriate notice, your landlord can try to collect additional rent from you.
If the other person on the lease is disabled, there may be social services that will help you move in a foreclosure situation. You should consider contacting the Homeline Tenants' Hotline at 612-728-5767.
Kelly Klein is a Minneapolis attorney. Do not rely on advice in this column regarding a legal situation until you consult a qualified attorney; information provided by readers is not confidential; participation in this column does not create an attorney/client relationship, and no such relationship is created without a retainer agreement with Klein. If you have questions concerning renting, you can e-mail her at email@example.com, post your questions at www.startribune.com/kellyklein or write in care of Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488.
Read past columns and study rental market data at startribune.com/rent.