1) You are responsible for the full term of your lease unless the landlord provides a written release from your obligation.
2) The rent for the full term of the lease is due unless # 1 above happens.
3) The fact the landlord is not paying the mortgage has nothing to do with your situation. You pay rent on the 1st of the month and you get housing for that month - that's what rent is and you were getting what you paid for.
4) Your security Deposit can be used for any repairs needed on items that did not exist when you moved in (Typically, tenants complete a "Move-In / Move-Out" form describing any issues that exist at move in and then again at move out). If the Security Deposit doesn;t cover the repairs, the landlord can sue you for the balance.
5) If you moved out prior to the end of your lease, unless the landlord provided you a release in writing, you continue to be responsible for that lease until it expires and your landlord can sue you for the balance - even if it's sold - short sale or not.
5) Did you give notice in writing of your move-out per the terms of your written lease?
This is not Legal Advice, it is just my opinion and you should see the Legal services of an Attorney as soon as possible.
The California bill (SB 1151) would enable a tenant to walk away from a lease or rental agreement if the landlord failed to make the required disclosure, and would provide for damages of twice the monthly rent, or actual damages, whichever is greater, if the tenancy is terminated by the new owner.
Interestingly, the California Apartment Association supports this bill. They point out that residents of single-family rentals are more likely to lose their rental upon sale at foreclosure than apartment dwellers. This makes sense, because people who buy multiunit properties are less likely to plan to live there than those buying single-family homes (and an owner can live in only one unit, after all). The California bill would still enable the new owners who buy at the foreclosure sale to oust a tenant upon 90 days' notice -- but if the default was not disclosed, the tenant would be entitled to damages. Of course, the hope is that landlords who learn of their disclosure duty will comply, giving tenants the information they deserve to make an informed rental choice.
As long as your landlord still owns the property you must live up to the terms and conditions of your rental/lease agreement.
You must pay your rent/lease up and until the home is sold. At which point you will be given notice to vacate.
If you are worried about the situation with the property, you can give a notice to vacate,providing it is done in accord with the agreement. The land lord must return your secirity deposit less any amount used to make any repairs to damages caused by you..
The landlord not paying the mortgage does not release you from the agreement you entered.
It is not wrong for the current owner to make repairs on the property even if it is a short sale.
Best of luck to you,
Kawain Payne, Realtor
Are you still in NOVA now or in CA? You should call a real estate attorney in VA immediately and see if you can get a free consultation regarding this matter.
Question: are there real issues with the condition? And were the left over furniture from the previous tenant noted on the lease?
Nothing changes until ownership changes when the property is either sold or taken back by the bank as a foreclosure and even then the security deposit would be turned over to the new owner, who would then use your security deposit to do any repairs made necessary due to damage you caused.
I am sorry to disillusion you, but for the life of me I cannot understand how tenants think they can live for free or not pay for damage they caused simply because their landlord is in financial difficulty.
I am sorry you are in the situation you are in but as Alain said this is happening more often. In California the lease you signed obligates you to continue paying your lease regardless of what the owner is doing with the money.
Looks like you already moved and are dealing with this issue from across the country. Deposits are a sticky issue in a normal situation but this may be more difficult. If the property is managed then maybe that management company is doing what they may be contractually obligated to do even though the property may be foreclosed on, which is truly spending good money after bad. Ask for any receipts for any work being done and that and the money you do get should equal your deposit.
Brian Wilson, Realtor