The sale of your home may affect your rights, including your rights to stay in the property.
If you don't have a lease:
If you don't have a lease, your rights as a tenant to stay in your apartment will end with the sale. The new owner should let you stay for at least as long as you have paid for. You and your new owner can make a new agreement. If your new owner accepts rent from you, then you have a new tenancy.
If you recorded your lease:
If you recorded your lease at the local office of the parish recorder, you probably have the right to stay until the end of your lease term. This is because if your lease is recorded, the new owner was on notice of the lease when he chose to buy the property. Read your lease to see if it says anything different. If the new owner tries to evict you, a recorded lease will be a good defense to the lawsuit.
If you did NOT record your lease:
If you did not record your lease, you only have the right to stay until the end of your lease term if your landlord sold the building with a requirement that the new owner acknowledges your lease. Without this requirement, the new owner may have the right to evict you. The new owner must still go through the legal eviction process to evict you.
If the new owner evicts you before the end of your lease term, you may have a damages claim against your old landlord.
Your Rights to Adequate Notice
Even if you are a month-to-month tenant, the new owner must give you at least a 5 day written notice to vacate.
If the new owner accepted rent from you and let you stay for a while, that can be interpreted as an “assumption” of your month-to-month tenancy. If that is the case, the new owner must give you at least 10 days’ notice before the end of the month that he will not be renewing your month-to-month tenancy before filing an eviction.
If you are not out by the end of the notice period, the new owner can file a lawsuit to evict you.
Your Rights to Your Security Deposit
If your building is sold during your lease, your landlord must give your security deposit to the new owner. When the lease ends, the new owner is responsible for the return of your deposit. If the new owner claims he did not get the deposit in the sale, you may have to go after the old owner as well.
Important Note if Your Home was Foreclosed On
Your landlord must notify you within 7 days of service of a notice of seizure by the sheriff’s office. If he fails to do so, you may have the right to sue him for damages and a penalty of $200 under La. R.S. § 9:3260.1.
The Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act (12 U.S.C. § 5201) was re-authorized in May of 2018 as part of the omnibus tax law. If you are a tenant in a foreclosed building, the immediate successor in interest (i.e. the bank or the person who bought the property at auction) must allow you to stay for:
- 90 days if the buyer is trying to move into the property
- 90 days if you don’t have a lease, or your lease expired, or
- the remainder of your lease if your lease is not expired.
Note: this law does not protect you if you are the former owner of the house that was sold at auction, or the child, spouse, or parent of the former owner. The tenancy must be an “arm's-length” transaction.
The new owner must give you notice of her ownership and where to pay rent. The new owner must also give you notice before evicting you in accordance with the requirements above and must go through the court eviction process if you do not vacate.