Trustee property, previous owner still acting like they own it.

Purchased a home at trustee sale, the previous owner was notified. It is a vacation rental, the previous owner is till renting it out short term like he owns it. What are my rights?

Hi Lori,
It may be necessary to file a temporary restraining order to prevent the ex-owner from continuing to rent it out.
If you cannot negotiate with this person then you may want to hire an attorney to assist you with the eviction and the restraining order.

Hi Lori … I went through the same scenario recently. In addition to my UD action, I also filed a TRO to stop the former owner’s vacation rentals of my property. Since he “claimed” possession, his attorney wrongly advised him that he could continue to rent the property out to unsuspecting vacationers. A very long story short … Record the Trustee’s Deed Upon Sale as soon as you receive it and (if the ex owner is uncooperative, and/or unresponsive to a $4Keys offer) get yourself a good real estate attorney. If you record the trustee deed upon sale w/in 15 days of the auction, the sale will be perfected as of 8:00 a.m. the day of the auction (trustee sale), and the former owner does not have the right to rent it out to vacationers (very different from a permanent tenant) … and you would be entitled to any rent proceeds that the former owner takes in from vacationers from the date you acquired the property. But you’ll need to balance the cost of litigating to get a judgment award versus just considering the rent the former owner skimmed as his $4Keys money. Move forward post haste with a UD action … the longer that gets pushed out the more opportunity the former owner will have to “rent skim” (i.e. to rent a property he does not own).

Our attorney insists you only perfect title by recording your trustee deed, and the perfection is effective starting with that recording date. Seems very odd that you could do a sale on the 1st, record it 15 days later, and claim any retroactive perfection back to the 1st. Any one know of any caselaw/court decisions on this point? Thanks

Hi Bruce, Your attorney is correct. As long as the Trustees Deed is recorded within 15 days of the sale then the effective transfer date goes back to the date of the sale. Civil Code 2924h says “the trustee’s sale shall be deemed final upon the acceptance of the last and highest bid, and shall be deemed perfected as of 8 a.m. on the actual date of sale if the trustee’s deed is recorded within 15 calendar days after the sale, or the next business day following the 15th day if the county recorder in which the property is located is closed on the 15th day.”

OK, I am not an attorney and I have not encountered a vacation rental. But I have considered them and have some information. This is limited to CA. Under CA law, there are conditions required to establsh a tenacy. From what I understand, a short term rental, such as a vacation, hotel or motel does not provide the renter with the same rights. For example, an inkeeper can lockout a customer if they fail to pay the rent. It would seem to me that the previous owner, trustor, is not living at the property and therefor probably has no right of possession, except for the personal property. If it is a vacation rental it is probably furnished, and the furnishings will be the personal property of the trustor. I would take possession and wait to see what happens. What are your intentions for the property? Will you keep it or sell it as a vacation rental?

I plan on keeping it for myself.

Do you plan on living in it?

This happened to me. Ex-owner told me property was a vacation rental and booked “under contract” for 2+ months. Advice from my experience:

Most vacation rentals are listed on vacation rental sites like Call the vacation rental site and tell them the situation and that they need to cancel future bookings and remove the listing. Their customer service should be understanding and diligent in removing the listing.

Vacation rentals are usually rented for short periods of time. 2-7 days. Go talk to the vacation renters occupying the rental. Tell them they situation and ask when they are leaving. They might leave for hotel soon after your visit. No one wants to have a crappy vacation. :slight_smile:

Consult eviction attorney before doing this: Change locks as soon as vacation renters vacate the property. You want to take possession before next renters come. Most rentals have 1-7 day periods of time between renters so you will have plenty of time to take possession. Hint: The property is vacant between renters. Read the Terms of Service (TOS) on the vacation rental site and you will probably see that the rental contracts our void in situations like this.

After you change locks, your only problem is the ex-owner’s furnishings. If furnishings are abandoned, post a Notice of Belief of Abandonment. If owner wants to pickup furnishings, schedule to meet them at property to let them in to get their stuff. If they get hostile and ask for a key, you should probably give them a copy of a key and hire an eviction attorney.

Adm has posted sound advice. Suggest you also find out if a local property management company is involved with the rentals. It may be that they have the responsibility of collecting the rental fees and you could send a cease & desist or see if they will turnover the collected rents from after the date of your ownership.