If your home was foreclosed, and you are not paying rent to the new owner there is an almost 100% chance that you will eventually be removed from your home. Depending on your situation, you may have options to stay in your home.
If you are a tenant with a valid lease, normally you will be able to continue under the lease with the new owner if you continue to abide by the lease. However, if the owner purchased the property with the intent of making it his or her home.
To quote the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Codes and Standards. Landlord-Tenant Information Service, GROUNDS FOR AN EVICTION BULLETIN
“The landlord may file for eviction, if the owner of a building with three residential units or less seeks to personally occupy a unit, or has contracted to sell the residential unit to a buyer who wishes to personally occupy it and the contract for sale calls for the unit to be vacant at the time of closing. A Notice to Quit must be served on the Tenant at least two months prior to filing suit for eviction. No legal action may be taken until the lease expires.”
For more information of your rights as a tenant living in a foreclosed property, either call an attorney or read the TOOLKIT FOR TENANTS LIVING IN FORECLOSED PROPERTIES by the New Jersey Public Advocates office.
Remeber that the new owner is also responsible for your security deposit. Don’t believe the new owner if he tells you to get your deposit back from the old owner. (See N.J.S.A. 46:8-20 and -21).
What if I was the owner prior to Foreclosure?
If you were the prior owner, your rights to stay in the property are much less protected than a tenant. After the sheriff sale, there is a 10-day period where you have the option to redeem the property by paying the sheriff what is owed to the bank. Most people do not have the money to do this, however, in that period you are technically still the owner of the property until the full auction price is paid and the sheriff deed has not been delivered. However, after the sheriff deed has been delivered, the new owner can move to evict you from your former home.
You can attempt to get cash for keys from the new owner to move out. You are not guaranteed anything by law, however many times new owners will give a token amount of money so you do not destroy the property and agree to leave by a certain date as not to force them to evict you.
You as the former owner may have a half a year or more living rent-free in some cases. This is not guaranteed to happen but on rare occasions, the bank may buy the property back and not move for a Writ of Possession right away. In these situations, people sometimes are not evicted until the bank sells the home as an REO (Bank owned Real Estate). Normally at the conclusion of a New Jersey Sheriff’s Sale, judgment for possession is entered while simultaneously, a Writ of Possession is issued. The Sheriff then has thirty days to serve the Writ of Possession on you as the former owner.
The Actual Ejectment Date
After the Sheriff serves the Writ of Possession on you, you are given twenty days to move. On the twenty-first day after service of the Writ of Possession, if you and your family have not vacated the premises, the buyer or the attorney for the buyer calls the Sheriff’s Office to schedule the actual eviction. The Sheriff will then assign a date for the eviction, which is usually no sooner than 30 days from the date the judgment was entered. The new owner will schedule a locksmith at the time set by the Sheriff for the lockout. There are other ways to delay the actual lockout date by going to court and asking a judge for additional time.
Now you understand why some new owners offer you money to move.