Florida renters are far from being immune to the foreclosure crisis and both tenants and landlords had better make sure that they are on the right side of the law or risk facing some very harsh consequences.
South Florida renters in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale in particular are increasingly finding themselves in tricky legal positions and dire financial straits due to the foreclosure crisis striking home and many don’t even see it coming.
Desperate property owners and even scam artists presenting themselves as owners of vacant foreclosed homes are leasing South Florida homes, pocketing the money and leaving tenants to be evicted and tossed out in the streets.
It is now critical for anyone looking to rent a property in the area to carefully verify the identification of the real property owner and their rights to rent it out as well as ensuring they are solvent and not in default of any obligations which could result in the home being lost to foreclosure. This can be tricky but it is a must if tenants don’t want to wake up to an eviction notice and find all of their rent and security deposit has vanished.
The same warnings apply to those already in rental properties too. You cannot afford to dismiss collection attempts and foreclosures notices or even assume you are OK in their absence. Sometimes landlords are not aware of the situation due to the variety of reasons for foreclosure from non-payment of property taxes to delinquent HOA dues and mortgage payments and beyond. Others are aware and think they can just keep on pocketing the rent and not pay the bank. And renters shouldn’t be deceived by looks either. Even the highest end homes and landlords driving luxury cars and still spending lavishly can be masking huge financial struggles.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that tenants can just halt paying rent and blow it either with the expectation it will take months to get them out. The legal ramifications for breaking a lease can still be tough and haunt renters for years.
Property owners must also be aware of the legal mire they can get themselves into when they land in default while renting a home. This is now a serious issue and being tied to mortgage and real estate fraud can lead to criminal charges and lengthy sentences depending on the circumstances.
Florida homeowners in foreclosure must also make sure no one is renting out their properties on their behalf in this way, especially if they have attempted to duck foreclosure and used a shady foreclosure ‘rescue’ service.
Whether you are a tenant, prospective renter or property owner in South Florida it may be wise to always seek the counsel of a professional Florida foreclosure defense or experienced real estate lawyer before taking any action like this.
Find out what the consequences could be how you can protect yourself and what can be done if you are already in a situation like this on either side.