If you a are a tenant and you're worried that your landlord might be in default on his mortgage, you have a right to know about it. Your landlord may try to conceal this information from you (after all, you're a source of much-needed revenue for him). However, you can use several strategies to determine if the property you're renting is in foreclosure.
Ask your landlord. She may not be willing to share this information and she may even lie to you. However, she may come to the ethical conclusion that it's in your best interest to know the financial precariousness of the situation.
Search a nationwide database of foreclosures (see the website listed in Resources). This information is not always accurate and does not update immediately, so do not rely solely upon this information. It could be helpful to simply confirm your suspicions, though.
Visit the Registry of Deeds in the town or city in which your property is located. Ask the staff for help, or simply enter the property address and name of your landlord into the database. All recorded mortgages, liens, tax liens, and titles are recorded in this building and are a matter of public record.
Look for the following documents listed for the address in question: unpaid property taxes, notices of default, notices of foreclosure and recent mortgage transactions. All of these are red flags and may confirm that the landlord is indeed either behind on payments or in foreclosure.
Contact the Fair Housing Council. See the Resources section for the contact information (you'll need to specify the state in order to see contact information). FHC representatives are trained to research public records and advocate for renters' rights.
Research your rights. In most states, laws protect tenants from forced eviction due to foreclosure. You should have a grace period of at least 30 days to find new housing and possibly recoup back rent payments. See the Resources section for the Housing and Urban Development Administration's handbook on Tenants' Rights.
Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.