I signed a 16 month lease Jan 2009. On July 24th I got a Notice of Default. I continued to pay rent to the landlord; he said he was trying to renegotiate the mortgage. On Nov 19th the property went to auction and title reverted to the bank. However, the bank never recorded the trustee's deed. So I continued to pay rent to the landlord. Jan 12, 2010 I received a letter from the landlord stating that ownership of the property had transferred to CEREF (a real estate investment company in Long Beach). The new owner has incorrectly claimed that they do not need to honor my 18 month lease. However the Foreclosure Act of 2009 signed by Obama in May 2009 clearly protects my right to stay in the property through the lease term. It also means that the new owners must give me a 90 day notice when the lease finally expires in July.
This entire experience has taught me
1: you must check public records before signing a lease
2: never take promises or claims from landlords, real estate agents, lawyers or investment bankers at face value.
3: keep records of all communications and payments
4: do your own research: most lawyers I have spoken with are not actually that familiar with how to best help tenants in foreclosure situations.
Congress and Obama have done a great service to help protect tenants from unscrupulous lenders and landlords; but tenants need to pay attention, become familiar with federal/state/county laws and self-advocate.