ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Lisa Easter loved living in her small St. Augustine rental. She rented the house for two years.
But like thousands of other renters across the nation, even though she's paying her rent, she's getting kicked out.
"Here's the notice of termination saying I have to be out by the first," she said.
By law, as the tenant of the home, the bank sent Easter a copy of the papers, showing the owner of the property was facing foreclosure. But she opted to stay in hopes of a new buyer letting her remain as a renter after a conversation she said she had with her landlord.
"He told me he was going to put the house up for sale, do a short sale, but he was only going to get an investor to buy it. That way, I could stay here," she said.
So, the short sale happened and Easter was surprised by the next notice she received. Before the house went to sale, the bank kicked her out.
"So I have like 15 days to find a new place to live," she said.
"They really have very few rights," said real estate attorney Daniel Copeland.
This is a growing problem for renters, Copeland said. The tenant pays the rent, but the landlord does not pay the mortgage.
"It is not criminal nor civilly illegal or wrong. Morally yes, I would say it is wrong, but that's not an actionable event," he said.
Even though you don't have many protections on the back end, he said there are a few things you can do to protect yourself before signing a lease on a new property.
"Ask for a statement from the landlord that they are current on their mortgage," Copeland said.
Similar to the credit report a landlord will run on you, you have a right to know the financial state of the mortgage. You can also check public records.
"Which would tell you if the property is in foreclosure," Copeland said.
It's a lesson Easter has learned the hard way, but now is speaking out so others don't end up like her, scrambling to find a new home.
"I would hate to have somebody else go through this," she said.
First Coast News