Does Calif. law afford the purchaser of a foreclosure any right to access the interior when the former owner won't move out?


#1

I purchased a home at the trustee’s sale two months ago. Former owner won’t move out and just filed bankruptcy to stop the unlawful detainer eviction process. I have yet to see the inside of the home and am wondering if I have any rights to gain access after formally requesting same.


#2

We had an owner that would not let us in. I think you could force the access issue with a maintenance or improvment notice. For example, it is likely that you do not have the keys. You could post a notice on the door pursuant to CA tenant law, enter the premises, change the locks. Now this is going really irritate this guy and he will probably claim you locked him out, which you will have done, but then you give him a key ASAP. Unless I had a really good reason to go inside, I would probably leave him alone, work on getting the stay lifted on the UD.


#3

Richard is correct - there is a Code Section (which I forget the number of) that lets you post a notice giving (24hr.?) to inspect the property. As mentioned, best just to do the UD.
It can be used as a way to make/initiate contact w. the occupant. Also can be used to maybe effect service of the UD papers.


#4

Thank you for the responses. It sounds like I have the right to enter the house as long as I have posted a notice that I intend to do so at least 24 hours ahead of time. Of course there is the issue of not having a key and getting inside if the occupants are not there. If anyone else has any other thoughts please let me know.


#5

Keep in mind these occupants are now your legal tenants. I am assuming you are in CA. If so, you can only enter during regular business hours, say 9 to 5, and you must post a specific notice at least 24 hours before you enter. When you arrive, you must knock, ring the door bell, call out, etc, then try the door to see if it is unlocked. If you don’t have a key, bring a locksmith, I personally use a Daywalt portable drill with a carbide bit and drill out the cheapest lock I can find on the house. Of course, this is when the house appears to be unoccupied. Notice I said unoccupied, as you may enter, see furntiture or other personal property and that may very well constitute occupancy. I personally would never enter a home of an unwilling occupant unless I thought it was an emergency situation. Best to get a good attorney and do the eviction.


#6

Thanks Richard. Yes, I’m proceeding with the eviction but think there should be some way for me to protect my investment and know the condition of the home prior to them moving out and possibly removing fixtures and trashing the house.


#7

I admit that I finally entered the house of the hostile ex owner. The owner was hiding behind his relatives as tenants. It was a fluid situation so it was a tenants in possesion issue. What I did was go to the property on a regular basis, got a feel for their patterns, one day, I went to the house when I was fairly confident they were gone, found the house unlocked, used that as an emergency justification to change the locks, inspect the house, gave them keys, When we went to court on the UD they claimed we locked them out, was a moot point, they were guilty of UD, so the ruling was in our favor. The judge said we had not only a right to enter, but a responsibility to secure the property. The old owner whined and said he wanted his locks put back, he was reminded they were no longer his locks and I could change them if I wanted to, as long as I gave him a key. What I did was risky and at least grey as a practice and I would never recommend anyone do it, but,