You have been given some misinformation. I assume the home you have been living in is a single family dwelling (a house). Single family homes are never subject to rent control under any circumstance in California. It also would not be in foreclosure if it just sold. You mention that you have been leasing for five years. The question is are you currently on a lease or are you renting month to month. If you are on a lease, and it is a one year lease, the buyer at the auction must honor that lease. So the lease would remain in effect until the expiration of the lease in however many months that is at which time you would have to vacate. If you are more likely on a month to month tenancy, the new owner can give you a notice to vacate immediately. In California if you have been there for less than a year, they can give you a 30 day notice, but if longer than a year as in your case, they are required to give you a 60 day notice. As for the anecdotal story about the person getting cash for keys, the situation may have been quite different. They may have been on a lease with 4,5,6 months or more to go on their lease and they agreed to voluntarily leave early for receipt of cash. In other words the new owner bought out the lease. If you are on a lease with quite a few months to go that might be a possibility, but if you are on a month to month which is my guess, then they should give you a 60 day notice, and there'd be nmo reason for keys for cash. You should inquire about the return of your security deposit. The previous owner to whom you gave your security deposit is gone and it is very unlikely you can get it back from him even if you could locate him. The new owner having bought at auction probably did not get the security deposit transfered to him and will probably be reluctant to give it to you since he doesn't have it. However, as the new owner of a rental property, the new owner would, I believe, have the obligation to return it to you. He inherited the lease and all it's terms and conditions including the return of your security deposit. I would ask for confirmation in writing that they will be returning your security deposit when they contact you. Some tenants would simply not pay the last month or two of rent applying the amount of the security deposit toward that rent. However, that is not really a legal option. If they don't refund it to you, the legal option would be to take them to small claims court.