Q: I purchased a property at a trustee’s sale to fix up and sell. Can I go in the property, change the locks and begin to remodel the property?
A: Unless the property is vacant, you can never change the locks on a home. If it appears that someone is in possession of the property, you must learn of their alleged basis for remaining in possession. If they are the former owner, they no longer have a valid basis to remain in the property and should be given a demand for possession. If the former owner fails to vacate, you can then file an eviction to remove them. Alternatively, if the occupant is a tenant of the former owner, they may have certain rights under federal law. Specifically, a bona fide tenant may be able to remain in the property through the end of their lease or at a minimum 90 days.
Mark B. Zinman, Attorney
Information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. You should always contact an attorney for legal advice and not rely on information published here.