How to Verify a Rental House Is Not a Foreclosure

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When you decide to rent a home, you should consider more than just the number of bedrooms the property has, its location and its price. Taking the time to verify that a rental home is not currently in foreclosure is wise. The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 will prevent the owner from forcibly removing you from a rental once it has been foreclosed upon in most cases, but this does not mean that the new owner is entitled to adhere to the other terms of your lease such as regular property maintenance. In order to protect yourself and your family, you should check the legal status of every home that you consider renting.

Things You'll Need

  • Property address
  • Write down the correct address of the home, and verify the county that the home is located in.

  • Visit the tax assessor’s office for the county.

  • Give the clerk the home’s address, and ask for the parcel number of the property. Many county tax assessor’s offices have websites that allow you to search for a parcel number online.

  • Visit your county recorder’s office.

  • Give the clerk the parcel number for the property, and ask if a Lis Pendens or Notice of Default has been filed against the property. Many county recorder offices also make this information available online. A Lis Pendens or Notice of Default is a legal document filed by the holder of the home's mortgage loan that indicates the property is currently under foreclosure.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can request full documentation of the Lis Pendens or Notice of Default in person from the county recorder. These documents are a matter of public record and, as such, you are entitled to them.
  • A public records search will pull up any Lis Pendens or Notice of Default for the property. Make sure to look at the date to verify that the filing was recent.
  • You may also call a local real estate agent and ask if the property is for sale. Many homes that are under foreclosure are also on the market. The hope is that the property will sell and the owner will be able to pay off the loan prior to the home being seized.
  • You can check the foreclosure status of a home repeatedly.
  • If you find that the home is under foreclosure, it is probably in your best interest not to rent it.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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