Even after a foreclosure takes place, homeowners do not have to leave their residence immediately. The lender or new owner who has taken over title still needs to follow specific guidelines in order to lawfully evict you. This window of time created by the foreclosure process is a crucial opportunity for homeowners who want to avoid eviction and continue to fight to stay in the property.
The process that leads to eviction after foreclosure invariably begins with a Notice to Quit. You can consider this notice the first volley in a series of actions taken by the lender or new third party owner to try and remove you from the property. From here, the way each post-foreclosure eviction plays out is going to depend on the circumstances of your unique situation.
At the end of the period of time specified by the Notice to Quit, if you still haven’t left the premises, you will soon likely find yourself the recipient of an unlawful detainer lawsuit. Unlike the Notice to Quit, the unlawful detainer lawsuit is more than a threat — it’s an actionable legal tool to oust you from your residence. An unlawful detainer lawsuit claims that you are illegally residing in the property, and the person filing is looking for legal backing to have you removed. If you choose to simply not fight this, or if you fight it and lose, the sheriff can and will show up at your door one day to physically escort you off the premises.
If you choose to retain an attorney and fight the unlawful detainer, there are two main strategies at your disposal (depending on the circumstances of your unique situation). You can simply seek to buy more time in the property in order to better secure your next living situation; or, you can assert that the foreclosure itself was fundamentally illegal and unsound. In the latter instance, you can turn around and sue your lender for wrongful foreclosure.
Your options and strategy when facing eviction after foreclosure are almost always going to be tied into the idea of wrongful foreclosure. The sad fact is that, in their haste to foreclose, lenders make statutory violations during the foreclosure process all the time. Because of this, homeowners frequently sue to stop foreclosure based on the existence of these statutory violations. However, homeowners may also have grounds to sue even after the foreclosure has occurred, depending on the nature and severity of the lender’s violations, fraudulent activities, negligence, or oversight.
The most important takeaway from all of this is to realize that you have options even if you are facing a Notice to Quit or an unlawful detainer lawsuit. Even if you are facing eviction after foreclosure, the legal system provides you recourse to extend your time in the home or ultimately fight for your claim to the property’s title. An experienced foreclosure eviction lawyer can advise you as to exactly what those options look like.
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Michael Avanesian has a primary focus within the field of corporate restructuring and litigation. Mr. Avanesian has a wide range of experience in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and has represented corporate and individual debtors, secured creditors, unsecured creditors, lessors, lessees, trustees and other interested parties in bankruptcy cases and related litigation.
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