I agree with Keith. Since you signed the lease contract with the landlord you are bound to all the terms and conditions while you are taking possession of the property. Even the landlord is in distress he still has the power over you to evict you as his tenant. We are looking at two situations here. The tenant's situation will be in default with the landlord. And by law he has the right to take legal actions against you for the unpaid rents. The landlord 's situation is in default with the lender is actually his own problem, he has to deal with it. The tenant can't take advantage of his distressed situation and get by without paying the rents. Until the bank took over and the tenant will be evicted sooner or later, the landlord still have full control of his property. and he still can go after the tenant for unpaid rents. The tenant's credit will be damaged if the landlord filing for lawsuit. I think it is best not to do it. After all, what is good for the tenant when he tries to take advantage of someone's disadvantage. And I am sure the judge will laugh his way out to the tenant's face when he reviews the lease contract and you know what will happen next. There is no free ride ticket anywhere. Believe me. What comes around will come around.
So both the tenant and landlord have issues. The likely hood for the landlord to start the eviction is most likley limited but the potential is there. Also california has a little differnt twist to tenants and their ability to stay in the house during and after a foreclosure. You should talk to someone in your area that understand tenant landlord laws or maybe there is a book that explains the tenant /landlord rules like we have in milwuakee.