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Old 12-16-2009, 01:56 PM
 
99 posts, read 294,255 times
Reputation: 59
Default Owner hasn't paid mortgage of my Rental House

I am not even in Seattle, I'm across the country for the holidays, but my roommate says a letter came for the owner, and she opened it (no idea why) and found it to be a letter about the owner not paying the mortgage. She noticed that the owner's payment is almost $600 more than we pay, which is worrying.

I was advised by someone to stop paying rent immediately (too late for Dec, of course) and write a letter demanding that they get caught up, but I felt like that was extreme, I mean, its not as if the owner would be foreclosed on tomorrow...

I wrote the rental company and they're going to look into the situation, but is there a protocol? What should I be doing? Should I withhold rent for January until it's clear that the mortgage is paid? Or am I to keep paying for as long as I'm in the place, which is what I assumed?

What are my "rights" in general in terms of the owner's financial problems, and my lease which doesn't end until Aug 31st? I feel like this could all be a simple issue, but I guess I would like to know what I should be doing. It would take me days if not weeks to pack up, i can't really wake up to find out I have 24 hours to vacate, you know?
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Old 12-16-2009, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,107 posts, read 9,261,151 times
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Google "Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009"

Its a new bill as of May, 2009 that says that if you are in a lease (and not related to the landlord, and renting at a fair market value, etc, there are some rules) then if the owner gets foreclosed on, which takes months after their last payment, the bank then has to give you 90 days or until the end of your lease, whichever comes first, to vacate.

If you stop paying rent, you can be evicted, even in a foreclosure situation, and you probably don't want that on your record.

If you keep paying your rent, then worst case scenario, if the owner is already months behind and the foreclosure is due to take place next week, you still wouldn't have to be out until March. If this is just a first late notice to the landlord, then they may just be late paying and not in trouble, or they could be letting it go back to the bank, but your lease will be almost up before that happens if the process is just starting now.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that is correct.
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Old 12-16-2009, 02:55 PM
 
3,703 posts, read 4,033,863 times
Reputation: 1750
Quote:
Originally Posted by LucaBella View Post
I am not even in Seattle, I'm across the country for the holidays, but my roommate says a letter came for the owner, and she opened it (no idea why) and found it to be a letter about the owner not paying the mortgage. She noticed that the owner's payment is almost $600 more than we pay, which is worrying.

I was advised by someone to stop paying rent immediately (too late for Dec, of course) and write a letter demanding that they get caught up, but I felt like that was extreme, I mean, its not as if the owner would be foreclosed on tomorrow...

I wrote the rental company and they're going to look into the situation, but is there a protocol? What should I be doing? Should I withhold rent for January until it's clear that the mortgage is paid? Or am I to keep paying for as long as I'm in the place, which is what I assumed?

What are my "rights" in general in terms of the owner's financial problems, and my lease which doesn't end until Aug 31st? I feel like this could all be a simple issue, but I guess I would like to know what I should be doing. It would take me days if not weeks to pack up, i can't really wake up to find out I have 24 hours to vacate, you know?
How long is the lease and does she have a deposit if so how much? Do you know that the house is in foreclosure?
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,107 posts, read 9,261,151 times
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Just as a side note, I pay my Wells Fargo mortgage on the 3rd of each month. It is due on the 1st, late after the 15th. I set it up on auto pay about a year ago. Before I did that, they had started calling me on the 2nd or 3rd if it wasn't paid. It is possible this is a similar thing. The bill wasn't paid by the due date, but isn't technically late yet, and the bank is just sending a reminder. If that's true, any reaction at this point is an overreaction, because there is no issue.
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,338 posts, read 9,456,429 times
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If I understand the basic tenants of the foreclosure law, Lacerta has it right. If you stop paying rent, you can be evicted with the consequence of ruining your credit. if you continue to pay the rent, you stay and if the house gets foreclosed on, you will have 90 days or the end of your lease to move. The bank cannot throw you out sooner than 90 days.
I would plan to continue to pay the rent and plan on moving when the lease is up. You have plenty of time.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:58 PM
 
587 posts, read 1,029,049 times
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I was watching one of those financial advisors on TV- I'm pretty sure it was Clark Howard- he was talking about this exact situation- and what a previous poster said was correct- there is a law that states if you are current on your rent and the house is foreclosed- you can stay for the lease period. I would get some advise before you withhold rent- good luck- sorry that is happening- but it must suck for the owner to be paying $600.00 more than you pay him- so I have to sympathize with him as well- the whole situation is sad.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:31 PM
 
7,972 posts, read 13,450,363 times
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...On the other hand, your landlord might not even be using your rent money to pay the mortgage. I'm NOT suggesting you not pay rent or do anything that could result in an early eviction, but you might want to check with either the tenants Union of Washington or a legal clinic/attorney what the implications are. If you can find out if/ how far along the foreclosure process is, it might be permissible to set up an escrow account and have the rent paid into that rather than directly to the landlord. Im not a lawyer and am not giving legal advice, but do contact someone like the tenants union or a legal advisor.
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:24 AM
 
2,019 posts, read 2,380,048 times
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Just curious: does the fact that a tenant opened mail addressed to the owner and is planning to act on the content of that mail a factor here?

In any case, I would continue to pay the rent but begin looking elsewhere or stashing money away to prepare for the worst.

Good luck.
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:56 AM
 
3,703 posts, read 4,033,863 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cleasach View Post
Just curious: does the fact that a tenant opened mail addressed to the owner and is planning to act on the content of that mail a factor here?

In any case, I would continue to pay the rent but begin looking elsewhere or stashing money away to prepare for the worst.

Good luck.
No its not a factor, but that is a crime.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:43 AM
 
5,019 posts, read 8,588,697 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ira500 View Post
...On the other hand, your landlord might not even be using your rent money to pay the mortgage. I'm NOT suggesting you not pay rent or do anything that could result in an early eviction, but you might want to check with either the tenants Union of Washington or a legal clinic/attorney what the implications are. If you can find out if/ how far along the foreclosure process is, it might be permissible to set up an escrow account and have the rent paid into that rather than directly to the landlord. Im not a lawyer and am not giving legal advice, but do contact someone like the tenants union or a legal advisor.
Probably the best advice on this thread. I remember reading months ago that in some states that is the preferred method. That way the money goes to the mortgage holder in the end, instead of into the pockets of the deadbeat landlord.
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