Q: I’ve got a lease for one year, but it looks like I’m about to get the boot. My landlord stopped by to say that he can no longer afford to pay his mortgage, and he’s received a notice of default. He advised me to get ready to move, once the bank forecloses. What are my options? –Bruce B.
A: Your question is very timely. Before May 20, 2009, most renters lost their leases upon foreclosure. The rule in most states was that if the mortgage was recorded before the lease was signed (mortgages are usually recorded right after they’re signed), a foreclosure wiped out the lease (this rule is known as "first in time, first in right"). Because most leases last no longer than a year, it was all too common for the mortgage to predate the lease and destroy it upon foreclosure. Sadly for most renters, your landlord’s advice was accurate.