Foreclosure in 22193>Question Details

Atn23, Renter in 22193

I need advice on how to get my security deposit back from a landlord whose house has been foreclosed.

Asked by Atn23, 22193 Fri Jul 16, 2010

I have been renting a house in Woodbridge, VA for two years. Last month we found out that the house has been foreclosed and now own by Fannie Mae. We have since signed a new contract with Fannie Mae. However, the previous owner is giving me the run around about getting my security deposit back. Since he no longer own the house I should be entitled the full desposit right? He is telling me he sold the property to his partner but I was never informed of this. I have the orginial lease and have been paying him rent this whole time. I feel like he is lying to me and trying to take advantage of me. I do not have the money to hire a lawyer. Could you give me advice on what I can do and what are my chances of getting my money back? Thank you very much.

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Dp2’s answer
Depending upon the amount, you might need to file a claim in small claims court to get your security deposit back. However, it's entirely possible that the seller might have set up an escrow account to hold your deposit, and turned it over to the lender.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 17, 2010
Can you find out what other properties your former landlord owns and put a lien on one of them?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 17, 2010
The spirit of the deposit return is after you vacate the property and the condition is acceptable. I would think if the owner lost his home it may be due to financial hardship and may not be able to return the deposit.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 16, 2010
The fact that you are in contract with Fannie Mae indicates to me that you are receiving the benefits of the law enacted to protect tenants in foreclosure. At some point, it's likely that Fannie Mae is going to want to sell this property and may very well be willing to make you a "cash for keys" offer to vacate and leave the property in a "broom clean" condition.

You may have success in a small claims action against the former landlord - but I would weigh the effort to do so against the possibility of collecting, even if you are successful. The law enacted to protect tenants was designed with people like you in mind. If I may suggest - contact your representative who gave you an agreement at Fannie Mae and ask them about their cash for keys policy to help you recoup your deposit loss.

Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 16, 2010
Are you still living there? Fannie Mae is not in the rental business to my knowledge, so you should be looking.
You could file in small claims court yourself. The clerk at the courthouse can tell you how to do that.
You are better to find a stable location first and deal with the deposit later.
Good luck to you.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 16, 2010
You have just discovered one of the unfortunate aspects of foreclosure for tenants. You can try sending him a certified letter requesting the return of your security deposit per the terms and conditions of your lease. However about the only leverage you have is to contact and attorney who could attempt to get the deposit and collect legal fees as well. It might be enough to scare him into giving you the money back but if he never informed you of the pending foreclosure you may find it a futile effort to collect your deposit.

Sorry you have encountered this situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 16, 2010
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