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Unlawful detainer and foreclosed property: What to know

In a market where real estate prices are soaring, short sales and foreclosed properties offer buyers unique opportunities to get the property of their dreams at an affordable price.

What do you do, however, when you buy a foreclosure or short sale and the former owner refuses to leave? Whether they simply refuse to adjust to their new reality or they’re unsure where to go, you have to take action.

It’s called unlawful detainer – but you have to evict them

In Idaho, former owners of a commercial space are essentially the same as tenants who no longer have a lease. When a tenant fails to vacate a residence as required, they’re considered to be in “unlawful detainer” of the property.

Unfortunately for you, that means it isn’t as simple as calling the police and asking them to escort the former owners out of your home. You’ll have to go through a formal eviction process to obtain a Writ of Restitution and get them out. It’s critically important that you avoid any form of “self-help” eviction since that would put you on the wrong side of the law and expose you to legal penalties. That means you cannot:

  • Go inside when the former owner isn’t present and remove their property
  • Try to harass or intimidate the former owner into leaving through threats
  • Interfere with the property’s electricity, water, gas or locks to make it unusable

It’s surprisingly common for property owners who have fallen on hard times to refuse to vacate a property when they’re expected to do so. In situations like these, it’s wise to seek legal assistance so that you can quickly assert your property rights.