Banks are both owners and landlords when they buy tenant-occupied property at a foreclosure sale

Banks seem to have a hard time understanding that when they obtain title to property through a foreclosure sale that they not only own the property but have taken on themselves all the obligations that an owner has. If the property is occupied by tenants, the bank-owner is automatically the new landlord and the law imposes duties on landlords. The law also requires owners not to let their property become a nuisance. But this simple legal truth is repeatedly resisted by some banks. This rule extends to any entity that is the legal owner of the property and that includes the trustee of residential mortgage-backed securities that purchases the property at a foreclosure sale.

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in Hector v. Bank of New York Mellon, 473 Md. 535, 251 A.3d 1102 (Md. 2021), that a lender that becomes a property owner by buying property at a foreclosure sale becomes subject to the municipal housing code, including its provisions that make owners liable for harms negligently caused to tenants by lead paint in the apartment.