Sorry to hear about the tight spot you're in. A lot of times if the company has more vacant rentals, they can put you into another home with little or no effort, especially given the circumstances. I know most the local property management companies in town, and if you have any problems don't hesitate to contact me. I'd be happy to help any way I can.
While they might not have handled the situation very tactfully, that's pretty much normal procedure. We negotiate with the tenant, once an agreement has been reached, the bank sends over the paperwork and cuts a check. Then, on the agreed upon move out date, we go and meet the tenant at the house to make sure that they've moved all of their belongings and that the house is in 'broom clean' condition.
If everything goes according to plan, I release the check and call my locksmith to come out and change the locks and I start preparing it for market.
I know that it doesn't make the transition easy, but that's how it's done.
One thing that might help...In the past I've called the next landlord for the tenants to verify that I have a check in hand that I'll be releasing once they completely move out. Maybe they'll do the same for you.
On a similar note, we were just assigned another 4 REOs this week and when we went to go and visit the properties and talk to the owners/tenants, we found out that the owners of two of the buildings we're actively trying to collect December rent. Luckily, we were able to make contact with the tenants before the old owner did. phew!
Another thing that you may want to consider. Once the property goes to auction, depending on who ultimately ends up with the property, the new owners often offer the existing tenants some cash to move out voluntarily.
From their perspective, it's easier to pay a little money upfront to get a property in good condition, rather than spend the money on an eviction and fight someone who will ultimately trash the place.
Rebecca and Michael, are you sure?!! I know Calif and IL are very different when it comes to real estate. In IL if a renter has a lease, the new owner has to honor the lease and long as the tenant has continued to pay the rent. The tenant would be given notice as to where to send the mortgage payment.
You say, "There is a chance we will have to move." Is that because of YOUR choice such as a job change or is that because you think when the house is foreclosed you won't be able to live there anymore? If you don't WANT to move, I wouldn't worry to much. IF the property is foreclosed, the new owner would probably want to keep you in there.
Of course, your management co. will have documentation as to the disclosures made to them from the current owner, if you want to go in that direction. Unfortunately, this could all become more trouble than it is worth. I'ts simply a matter of principal beyond your deposit ,as the legal system is so slow in these matters. Get that free consultation first and be prepared provide every piece of documentation you have at that time. You will have a better chance of understanding what you are against. I want to emphasize..your deposit is most important!