Unoccupied home with a few items left behind. How to proceed.

I have a bit of twist on the scenario in (Does Calif. law afford the purchaser of a foreclosure any right to access the interior when the former owner won’t move out?). Nobody occupies my recently purchased foreclosure property however previous occupants are claiming to have three months left on their lease. They left behind a few items like couch, mattress, and office paperwork in the garage. They want us to go the legal route since they claim property is still “in use”. They won’t meet in-person and have ignored our cash-for-keys suggestions. We changed the locks and provided occupant with key. We want to proceed with making improvements to the property while the legal process runs its course. We are posting 24 hour notices to enter before showing property to contractors, etc. Any thoughts on this?

Bona fide tenants get 90 days. Our attorney says they have to pay rent, if they don’t pay rent, then you can proceed with the eviction process based on the failure to pay rent rather than the 90 days under Federal law. So, ask them for the rent, if they don’t pay, evict them.

It gets a bit tricky when the purported lease is lurking out there but hasn’t shown its face. There is no law that forces the tenants to provide the new owner with a copy of a lease. It may be in there best interest legally but they don’t have to provide new owner with copy. Let me rephrase: Tenants aren’t penalized for being slow to provide a copy of the lease.

I guess you can call their bluff on the lease and give notice of a rent raise at a rate that would ensure a 10% increase over whatever they are probably paying. Then you could evict on nonpayment or maybe force out a copy of the purported lease.

HI Richard,
This is a bit of a gray area. The statute is silent on the payment of rent during the 90 day period. The attorneys I have spoken to recommended to wait the full 90 days and then if they did not move and you were forced to evict you could go after the past due rent.