If your house has been foreclosed and sold at a sheriff sale, you may be wondering if the buyer can legally lock you out of your home immediately following the sale. The answer is no. As long as the property has not been abandoned and is sitting vacant, the buyer must go through certain procedures before they can legally evict you and change the locks. In Ohio, this means the buyer must either obtain a Writ of Possession from the sheriff or initiate an eviction action in municipal court.
After an Ohio Sheriff Sale Has Occurred…
Here is an overview of the steps a buyer must take before they may engage in eviction actions like changing the locks on your home. For a more detailed look at the foreclosure process, see our Ohio Foreclosure Timeline.
- The sheriff sale occurs. If no one buys the home, the lender will be the entity that buys the property.
- A “redemption period” begins immediately after the sheriff sale takes place. The sheriff must inform the Court that a sheriff sale has taken place within 60 days. The Court then has 30 days to confirm the sale. During this time, the foreclosed homeowner has the right to redeem their home for an amount equal to the judgment plus fees and other costs accrued during the foreclosure process. You must act as quickly as possible if you plan to redeem your home because although the process may take up to 90 days it could be completed in less than a week. You will not have a set amount of time to redeem your home.
- Once the sale is confirmed by the Court the deed will be prepared, the buyer will pay the purchase price and a new deed will be recorded. This means the buyer has officially taken possession of the house and can begin eviction proceedings.
- The new owner may now either apply for a Writ of Possession, which gives the sheriff the authority to evict anyone living on the premises or begin an eviction action in municipal court. Once the buyer has obtained a Writ of Possession the sheriff will provide notice of the date on which the eviction will occur. Generally the eviction will occur within three to seven days.
- If the eviction date arrives before you vacate the sheriff will remove your belongings from the house and the owner can change the locks.
You still have rights before and during the eviction process. Your options are as follows:
- Wait It Out – You can simply wait for the sheriff to evict you. If you choose this option, it is important to be proactive. Use the time to develop a plan, save money, and find a new place to live.
- Stay the Eviction – You may go to the court and ask the judge to stay the eviction. You must present a valid reason for the stay, so be prepared to argue your case.
- Cash for Keys – In some instances the owner will offer you money to vacate the property before the eviction date.
- Bankruptcy – You have the right to file for bankruptcy. In most cases, filing a Bankruptcy Petition entitles you to an “Automatic Stay” of the eviction. This injunction halts the eviction and other actions your creditors may take. Bankruptcy is not an easy or simple decision and should only be pursued with the help of skilled Ohio bankruptcy attorneys like the legal team at DannLaw.
Did the New Owner Change Your Locks Before You Have Been Properly Evicted?
Don’t be the victim of an illegal lockout. If the bank or new owner of your home has changed the locks or taken other eviction actions without following proper procedure, be sure to contact the foreclosure defense attorneys at DannLaw. We have the knowledge and expertise to fight for you and ensure that appropriate actions are taken against the new owner.