When homeowners lose a house to foreclosure, the last thing they want to focus on is being forcibly removed from the property by a group of county sheriff’s deputies. The fact that the entire process of foreclosure seems to become much less clear after a sheriff sale can only add to the anxiety experienced by owners. However, there are four steps that the lender or new owner will typically follow in order to evict owners after an auction.
First, the original owners of the house will be given notice that they are no longer the owners and a deadline by which to move out or eviction proceedings will be initiated. If the borrowers do not leave, the new owners will go to court and file an eviction lawsuit (also known as an unlawful detainer or forcible entry and detainer action). The former owners of the house will need to be served with this paperwork, just as with any other type of lawsuit.
Next, the foreclosure victims will be given a certain length of time to respond to the complaint and summons by filing an answer with the courts. This involves filing a written response to the complaint in the eviction lawsuit stating the reasons why the new owners should not be given possession of the property. These reasons may involve failure to provide adequate notice, deficiencies in the foreclosure auction itself, or any other reason that is applicable. The former owners may also file a response simply asking for more time in which to move out of the house.
The third step will be a hearing before a judge in the case. The new owners and former owners will each be able to explain their side of the story and the judge will make a ruling. Typically, judgment for eviction will be given to the new owners, but it is also easy enough for the courts to grant the foreclosure victims a little extra time to move out of the home. But once the judge issues an eviction order, it can be given to the county sheriff to execute.
This is the last step in the process when the eviction order is given to the sheriff and an eviction crew arrives to remove the borrowers. Usually, a few days notice will be posted on the property before the eviction is conducted, and former owners can call their local county to find out exactly when they may be removed from the home if they have not received any notice. But there will be no negotiating with the sheriff to forestall the eviction — they are just following orders from the court and will not postpone carrying out those orders.
As with almost all aspects of the process, state foreclosure laws can vary widely in terms of what a new owner must do after a sheriff sale in order to evict any occupants of the property. The former owners become tenants once the title is transferred by the auction and will have to be treated as such under the applicable laws. Foreclosure victims can not just be removed from the house without their rights being taken into consideration and being notified and given an opportunity to defend such an action in court, so homeowners currently facing foreclosure should not worry about being thrown out onto the street with no warning.
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