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What is Cash for Keys?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A cash for keys offer is a deal which a bank may make with a homeowner, in which the homeowner is given a cash settlement in exchange for vacating his or her foreclosed home. This type of arrangement is sometimes made to renters, too. The advantage, from the point of view of the bank, is that it gets people out of the house quickly, and the house is often left in better condition than it would be in the event that an eviction was needed. It is important for people to be aware that this type of offer is usually a last resort, however, because once the paperwork is signed, the homeowner or tenant typically has no recourse.

In a classic example, the bank will initiate the foreclosure process on a home, and indicate that it is willing to pay the homeowner a set amount of cash in exchange for the keys. The cash may be based on a percentage of the appraised value of the home, or it may simply be a static payment. If the homeowner accepts, ownership of the home reverts to the bank, and a moving date is set. The time for the homeowner to negotiate is when the offer is made; if the homeowner feels that the offer is unfair, she should say so and she may be able to get a better deal, since the bank just wants her out of the home.

Homeowners may receive cash for vacating their foreclosed home.
Homeowners may receive cash for vacating their foreclosed home.

In the case of renters, some banks offer tenants cash for keys when they foreclose on a home to compensate the renters for their trouble. The settlement can be used to help with moving expenses, and it is also designed to keep the renters from complaining. For tenants, foreclosure can be extremely frustrating, because they may not be aware that the foreclosure process has begun, let alone proceeded to the point where they are expected to vacate a home.

Cash for keys may help people with moving expenses.
Cash for keys may help people with moving expenses.

Without voluntary surrender of the keys to a home, banks face a lengthy eviction process. Running an eviction is expensive and time consuming, because while eviction notices are served and the eviction is finally enforced, the house is simply sitting there, and the bank cannot put it on the market. By getting a so-called “broom clean” house in exchange for a small cash settlement, the bank can quickly turn it around; most banks do not like to hold on to a real estate inventory, so they welcome the opportunity to sell off their foreclosed properties.

Running an eviction is expensive and time consuming.
Running an eviction is expensive and time consuming.

In addition to helping banks cover their losses quickly, cash for keys can also prevent damage to the house. In some cases, people who are evicted feel resentful and angry, and they may stop maintaining the house or actively damage it out of spite. As a result, a bank might need to invest in some basic repairs to make a house salable before putting it on the market, and this eats up more time and money.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments


This system makes absolutely no sense for the big picture. It is so unfair in so many ways. -- Kristina C.


The scam is that the banks say that they want to work with you, but they really don't.

I got my mortgage with my ex. We were not married. One day he decided he didn't want to be in the relationship anymore and left. He also stopped making the mortgage payments. I kept them up by working lots of overtime and eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly.

The house was up for sale, but no buyers. Home values had gone way down. Then all the OT dried up at work. All the while he is living the high life, two new cars, vacations, etc., living in a rental with a much lower payment. I sent him a notice that I had no more OT and he would have to help with mortgage or we would have our credit obliterated by foreclosure. His response? "Let it foreclose."

So, it won't sell conventionally. He won't agree to a short sale. The bank won't refinance the loan. Can't get a renter because he won't allow it and it's still his house. Vindictive!

So now we come to foreclosure. The bank offered it at auction for $160K less than what was owed on it. Still no buyers. Nothing wrong with the home, just a remote location not appreciated by most people (stainless, granite, the works, but remote). Are you kidding me? You are auctioning my dream home for that amount, but you won't work with me?

The bank (rhymes with “race”) can go take a flying leap. I worked my tail off and the home is still beautiful, and then you send some flunky to offer me money to move. Keep your money. I don't want it. Accepting it only gives the bank excuses to keep screwing with folks that they are claiming to "help."

Some folks were irresponsible in this mortgage meltdown, and some weren't, but the banks and the government were downright criminal.


From San Diego, CA. House reverted to lender (Freddie Mac) in early August. The broker called me a week later and interrogated me as to how much was left in the house and he needed us to get it out now so he could secure the property.

We moved the stuff out, took the cash for keys offer of $3500, which we received three days later. That night, the broker popped the lock on our house, took pictures, snooped through my boxes and told lawyer we weren't living there any longer. Cash for keys ain't happening. To anyone going for cash for keys. this is most often a scam for them to get you out and then they rescind the offer. We were tricked to get out, and more so, didn't know it was legal to pop the lock on my house to get in and see what was left in the property when they were told on the day he called that we had stuff there. Slimeballs!

But, we're ahead $27000 in not making a house payment for a year. Forget you FMac and take your $3500 and shove it down your throat. You're eating $150,000 on our house! Oh and to those who are going to reply and say, “we bought more than we could afford,” nope, sorry. We didn't. Wells Fargo screwed up on the calculations six weeks after taking the mortgage and we couldn't get out of it at that point. And they weren't willing to admit they made a huge mistake.


The home I am renting just sold at an auction in June 2011. The new owner is a property management company. They have told me that they will honor my current contract until it ends in Oct 2011, at which time I can sign a new contract with them. However, they will be raising the rent anywhere from $100 to $150 extra each month. Or, I can vacate the home in the next 30 days.

If I choose to leave then, they will pay me $100 to clean the home upon leaving, however, that will not cover the new cost to move again. Due to my finances being extremlly tight, if I stay I won't be able to save enough either. I did ask them about the cash for keys program and they told me they don't offer that. Any suggestions?


To anonymous 129384- thank you. Your words made my heavy heart lighter and your faith put it all back into perspective for me. It's just things and stuff none of which we matter or count at the end of an honest day. Good luck to you and happy travels in following your dream.


@anon129834: I am in the same situation. An "investor" bought my mortgage in order to save my home from Bank of America foreclosing after they "lost" $3,000 of payments in 2010. They now say, after the house was sold in short sale, that they found it and are "processing" my refund. The investor told me that my lease payments would be applied to the price of the house. The lease agreement says it won't. I too, have joined the ranks of the scammed.

I will be renting a room from a friend, working and saving for a travel trailer. My dream was to pay the house off, get a trailer, go work as a writer and see the country. Now the house is gone. I'll get the trailer, go work as a writer and see the country. I'll own what I'm living in- no property taxes ($2,000/year), no house insurance ($1,000/year+), just road taxes, $30/year, and trailer insurance- about $500/year.

I've sold all my garden plants, container trees and nearly everything else. My city has a three-day garage sale, and I've sold most of the furniture, dvd's, and everything else not going to storage or that will not fit in a trailer. I won't cry about my situation.

Illness and layoffs put me here, and I'm getting out with God's help.

On Craigslist there are amazing deals on trailers coming up every day. I'll have the money, get the trailer and be set. I know the RV park I'll be staying at, too. And their rates. And it's local.

The "investor," can do what he likes- and I'm sure he will. I'm prepared to walk into court for rent,(what he thinks he can get), "repairs" (for what he thinks he can get) and anything else he thinks he can get. The house was bought as a distressed property in a short sale- it's in the same condition, as per his lease. For the 3 months I've rented from him, nothing's changed.

So, if he tries to trash my already poor credit rating (like medical bills, layoffs, etc.), go for it.

I operate as my Grandfather and Mother did- with cash. Cash talks, and business people listen carefully. I'm not afraid of a credit rating, because I can operate without one. I do know that insurance rates and other things, regardless of cash can make payments more expensive. I also know that nothing on a credit rating lasts forever.

To predatory lenders, and predatory "investors,"- your time is coming. God knows who and what you are- wait for it.

To those who condemn those whose circumstances are beyond their control- grow up. Quit looking down your nose at people. Not everyone was a bad customer.

To those who are in the same boat with me- cheer up- Jesus is asleep in the back of the boat, and we're not going down. He will bring peace to this storm. Right now, look at alternatives- apartments, renting room(s) from friends or relatives, or perhaps the modern downsizing to a travel trailer- today they're like studio apartments. Some are so large they have separate rooms.

Bargains are coming up on Craigslist all over the country. Even if it's a temporary place to live, you'll own what you're living in, and your overall expenses will be less. When things are better for you, you can sell it to someone else and you get the profit. God bless all of you.


The FDIC is actually doing this. Where they are in its roll out, I am not sure. Always double check any business deal you enter before you sign anything. Buyer beware.


I am going to be giving up a house my dad owns very soon. I probably could still live in it rent free for like another 9 months but ill be out in two months. Is cash for keys for me? My father died six months ago and I can't afford the mortgage for an overpriced home with a horrible school district anyway. Id rather rent. Is this just a scam?


Whoever the one is that keeps typing that people need to be responsible needs to get a grip. I'm sure he has never lost income, been unemployed for years or had to live in a box and eat from a dumpster, while millions of homes sit unoccupied.

This is where we are in this country. It has gone on for almost three years now. I wouldn't count on it changing for years to come, if ever.

The work has all gone overseas. We remain the only modern nation with millions going bankrupt over health bills.

We should, in fact, be embarrassed.

I had a good friend -- rich family -- super Republican -- who griped constantly about people milking the government and paying taxes.

Now, with three kids and little income, he has changed his tune. He uses WIC, daycare subsidy and any other help he can't get from the evil taxing government! I wonder if he even votes Democrat now.

My hope is for all you good people in crisis to be at peace, to love and be loved and to cherish your lives. Yes it is hard but so many people in most of the world would kill to have just a taste of even our most impoverished lives. Ninety percent of the world's people do not have cars. ost of the world drinks polluted water and lives in huts.


Let me say this: my home was foreclosed in Feb 2010 to Freddie Mac; it is now an REO. I am participating in the renters program.

Everyone needs to be aware of the federal law requiring a 90 day notice for renters. That means you cannot be evicted for a minimum of 90 days. As far as the cash for keys if you are renting (as I am) in a home that has been foreclosed on, it is a voluntary agreement. My house has been under contract twice and I have been offered a cash for keys twice which i refused twice, and they terminated each time.

The realtors bullied me, but I don't care. I know my rights. And you should all know yours. You have a right to a 90 day notice in all states, so enforce it. A realtor's worst nightmare is a renter who knows their rights, and it's about darn time we do. And to the posters talking of irresponsibility on the foreclosed owners' part, shame on you. Most of us are hardworking people with families that were affected by staff reductions and companies going belly up.

I am not ashamed, because I always paid my bills, and have been paying a huge amount of taxes for over 15 years due to having an income over 90k,so now I am down and out and I will not allow anyone to say I have no rights.


I live in bc but have a house in foreclosure. the people i rented to, i told them and they knew they did not pay rent and says they are moving every month but have not. i have not collected money for the past four months. what can I do to evict them since the bank needs them to be evacuated soon?


@tonywaters01, you sound like a loan officer that got messed up when your predatory lending backfired on you. I love bankers who lie, cheat, and even break the law to lure folks into loans they know they can't afford, then try to make the debtor out to be the victim.


I live in winton, ca. the house I was renting for almost two years was sold under short sale now I have to move. I have no money to move nor can I pay the new owners price. Do you know what my rights are? can I apply for cash for keys? how does that work? how long do I have to move?


In my situation, i haven't been evicted, just sued for back rent i owed. a banker came today and notified us that these apartments are in foreclosure. when am i suppose to move? With what money? And what is next? I shared a lease with two other tenants. how is that hurdle solved?


OK I have been my grandparents' caregiver for over two yrs.(not with pay) I had to move in about 8 1/2 months ago. they both passed now.

my problem is i was paying them a couple hundred a month and buying my own food i am only working 60 hrs a month have a lot of my own health problems and in the last two months i have been able to pay the minimal amount to keep the utilities on.

i was just told that the bank was going to be starting the default on the house. we have no where to go and absolutely no money to be able to move we don't even have a car. my husband is out of work we are raising our old nephew and we only have a total income of about $600 a month. my only inheritance that i am aware of is a rv that's not running and is to old to park in any of the trailer parks in the area we live.

A lot of people that we know have been telling us about this cash for keys program but will we qualify for it? please any info will not only help but be very much appreciated i am scared because i don't want to be thrown out in the streets in 30 degree weather.

as far as i know my uncle and mom were supposed to be the beneficiaries, but supposedly my grandparents were in debt at least $60,000 plus had already taken out a third mortgage on the house.

i guess there was no will and my uncle has had power of attorney since april and he was the one paying the mortgage. I have been getting phone calls from 7 am to 11 pm 7 days a week from the banks and creditors, and i am to scared to talk to them because i don,t know if i even have any rights at all. the last thing i want is to be arrested for living here or to have my nephew taken away because we get thrown out on the streets!

Please, any info will be great. Thanks. From Just Legions Smiley Tear Factory.


To all who are griping and playing the victim card. It was you who didn't weigh nor plan for the possibility that you may one day have an unfortunate turn of events in your life like being laid off.

It was you who made the commitment to repay your loan according to the specifications of the contract. If you made the decision to assume responsibility to repay the loan then it is your responsibility.

If you didn't have money saved for a possible lay off or sickness to cover you until you found another source of income you should have bought a cheaper home or changed your financial behavior during your stay in your home to include putting a significant amount of money away to prop you up in the event that things went south.

You assumed things would always be great and you are now paying for your poor planning and bad assumptions. You all made the commitments, you have to live with them. It is so easy to jump on the bandwagon of blaming the banks and looking for the government to help. Those who plan for the worse and manage their money with great discipline make it through these storms on their own feet.

I don't own a home and my credit sucks. But I have learned that personal responsibility is what will separate the successful from those who fail and place blame. I was once like that. Not anymore. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We have no one to ask for help, especially a government.

Those who made the right choices in their life shouldn't have to pay for those of us who made the wrong choices. That approach is and will continue to destroy the economic standing of our country and will one day (if people don't wake up) leave our country no longer the place of freedom, wealth and opportunity but rather financial collapse, government control and a standard of living that none of us have ever experienced.


in my case, my parents were scammed into selling their home to an investor to avoid the foreclosure process, so my question is, can they ask for the cash for keys from the investor that then turned around and did a lease with option to buy for them on the same home? i don't believe this is legal and we are trying to do the most we can with what we have at this point.


I didn't know this stuff like this was going on. So you people are telling me even if you make your mortgage payments on time, the bank or whoever is holding the mortgage can throw you out because they don't pay whoever. Big time crooks, aren't they?


I just need some clear answers if anyone knows. I am a renter in Stockton, CA. I am kind of like going through everything you other people went through with a landlord.

What I want to know is, I have been renting this home almost two years now and my landlord picked up rent in August and then the next week or so, there was short sale notice taped on the front door. And she is still hitting me up for rent, talking about how is she going to pay the mortgage.

What do I do? They had an auction, but I am not sure what is going on with that. And another thing can I get cash for keys, because I heard from several other people I could. Someone please get back with me.


@ #14 I was also done in by a landlord in Stockton. Sounds weird, but your timeline coincides with when I moved into this home, only to find out that it was foreclosed on last month. What area of Stockton?


I'm a renter and did not know the house was going to be auctioned until a day before. the landlord kept telling me she was modifying the house and for the past year she keep telling me the same thing until i found out the house was up for auction the next day and this happened today, can i still get cash for keys because i don't know what to do or where to go.


to - anon90691: Have you ever had a bank force you into an ARM? The banks get no sympathy from me. Especially when they don't want to work with you. When you call leave their answering machine full and when you finally do get through they hang up on you!

Cash for keys is the least they can do! And you better bet I am taking the appliances I want and even the storm doors too. Oh don't worry - anon90691 we will be leaving the old crappy storm doors from our new on the old foreclosed too. We paid for them and we should get to take them!

Anon90691, wait until the banks won't work with you, then you will be singing another tune. Or let me guess -- you are a rich banker stiff who robbed us of our homes. Try putting yourself in our shoes. So to sum it up Cash for keys is the least banks can do. And banks should not get any more bailouts, especially since they won't work with us middle class people!


I too have been a victim of big banks! they stink and would not work at all with me. Would not consider a modification. Asked me for $2000 and they would, though. What crooks they are and the courts, well that's another joke. All crooks there too.

I am a senior citizen and worked very hard for my American dream, lost a good paying job through no fault of my own, took a lower paying job because I need health insurance. Got behind and further behind. Requested modification several times and was refused, so I stopped paying at all.

Why should I pay someone who is going to steal my home and get away with it. I hired someone to help me and they did all they could but these thieves would not budge.

I hope and pray that this president that promised us crap will take a long and hard look at these banks and mortgage companies that begged for bailouts and put them out of business and on the streets. Bitter hell yes.

No offer has ever been made for me to stay in my home and they can come in legally and take my home. I have nowhere to go and the cash for keys better come through. I will need it!


Does broom clean mean I have to fix holes in the walls?


can you sue a landlord who knowingly rented a home that was in foreclosure? the house was sold after two months of living in it. I signed a year lease.


I just found out the house I'm living in was bought at auction. the new owners want us out in two weeks. can't afford to move, no job, unemployment just stopped. ohhh what to do?


I cannot believe all the past owners on here that feel like the bank owes them something. You signed the mortgage with all the terms on it. No surprises. You lived free for 9-14 months before the foreclosure. On your mortgage it states you will keep the house in livable condition, so do not steal the attached appliances, fans, blinds and etc.

I am glad to see in the news some of the banks are pressing charges against the old owners that steal and damage the property. All Americans should be mad at anyone who steals and damages a property that is foreclosed on. We pay for that damage with the bail outs to the banks. It is more than fair to offer an past owner $1000. I think it should be a law that the owner that is foreclosing on the property should have to meet a representative from the bank at the property within 24 hours after the auction and hand over the keys and leave the house in good clean condition.

Tenants in 98 percent of the cases know about the foreclosure. The banks have someone go to the property and post a letter on the property. They take a picture of the letter posted and give a copy of the picture to the bank and law firm that is handling the foreclosure.

Tenants should always research an owner before they sign a lease or have their Realtor do it. Tenants should try to collect deposits and rent paid to landlord for time after the foreclosure. Tenants do have the right and should receive cash for keys.

There is way to many people that are using this bailout and complaining. What if you invest $100,000 in the stock market and it goes down to $10,000? The same with a property, it is your obligation to pay.


I have a question. Can i get cash-for-keys,if i have a first and second or not? please let me know. Thank you. ctdr


I have a question. I moved into a condo with my two young sons in November. In February I came home to "possible foreclosure" notices on my front door.

I called my landlord and she lied and said she was doing a modification so I would have nothing to worry about. She must have forgotten that I have been in the mortgage business for the last 15 years.

Anyway, my question is, is there someone I have to call to get my cash for keys? Will they notify me on their own? I'm just not sure how it works exactly. Any info anyone can offer would be a great help! Thanks!


I also think the banks suck, bleeping crooks.

On my house they offered me $4000.00 and to be out in two weeks. I told them it wasn't enough money and I'm not interested.

They replied back to me the same day and said OK we will offer you 8100.00 and four weeks to get out. I thought OK deal.

if you are in this situation, don't take the first offer! Tell them: moving fees, deposit and first month's rent. tell them the place your moving into isn't available until whatever date, to buy time.

I asked my friend who is a realtor she said they can offer you up to $10,000. per house max. That's what the banks can afford. Ask around. Don't be embarrassed. There are more people than you know who are going through the same thing.

I own a condo that i am also losing and the realtor offered me $1000.00 on monday and to be out by June 1. i told him i will get back to him Friday.

I don't know how much i can squeeze out of this guy but a 1000.00 is a joke.

I will be taking my fridge, ceiling fans, stove and they can replace my fans. for $5 lights you can pick up at any hardware stores. i paid too much money to leave these items there.

let them know you are taking the appliances. they won't frown on it. the check is already made within two working days of signing the release form. So don't worry about leaving the house a little messy.

I took everything from my house including the blinds. So I'm cheap. Who cares? I still got my $8100.00 and they didn't tell me anything during the walk through.

I will get back to you with the offer i settled for. It's tough. be strong! --J


Tell the bankers to go to hell. They are all criminals!

My bank wants me to sign a cash for keys but refuses to let me see the contract before i sign it. I will never trust a banker or a Republican as long as I live! Democrats I trust as far as I can spit and that's it!


Cash for Keys is the last nail in your coffin!

After working your whole life for a secure and stable home for your family you and Americans like you are being victimized by predatory banks, forced to give their hard earned tax dollars in "bailouts" to the criminals who schemed, scammed, planned and perpetrated multiple criminal acts from loan sharking, fraud, racketeering and god knows what else.

Now after rewarding criminal negligence and fiduciary malfeasance, families are being destroyed, thrown out of their homes, many families end in divorce, bankruptcy, domestic violence and now they want you to sell your soul and sign a six page contract with the devil!

I say spit in their faces and do as much damage as you possibly can do! These people have no honor, no soul, no compassion. They would have you and your family slaughtered for a handful of paper dollars! They deserve no cooperation and I am sickened at the thought that so many Americans have lost their fighting spirit, independence and passion.

Why aren't millions of Americans screaming for investigations, trials, and new laws?

Instead of being placid victims we need to fight back any way we can!


We will be moving soon and my home has yet to be auctioned. I would like to negotiate cash for keys. What can I do? Do I have no choice but to wait til the home is auctioned?


I am losing my house and just financed an $5k A/C unit. Do I take it down and sell it before I get any info from my banks? Do I still owe if I lose my house? Or do I try to work for more money using the cash for keys program as a vehicle to haggle? Can you haggle in the cash for keys program?


I'm into the same situation where the building I'm renting a apartment from went into foreclosure and I'm already been talking to the bank, negotiating a price for me to move but it's been about four months now and now all they say is, "oh we'll call you back," you know, basically giving me the run around!

Does anybody know exactly how long they usually give you before they try to evict me out? Or what next step should i take to try and get some money out of them if they basically giving me the runaround?


Answer for post #44. The new federal law: protecting tenants at foreclosure act. You can find it online.


I just found out that the house I have been renting is going to be short sale. The owner signed paperwork in Feb 2010. I am upset because I was notified until just this past week. They are giving me less that 60 days to vacate the property. I have only lived in this house for 10 months. My lease is not even over. What are my options? This is horrible!


Cash for keys is for whomever is living in the home at the time of foreclosure. You should never be asked to give your cash to the landlord by any realtor.

If the landlord still owns the home you must pay rent even if he/she is not paying the mortgage, but once it has foreclosed you do not owe landlord a dime. If he/she is still contacting you, tell them to forget it.

If they try to evict you it is public knowledge when a foreclosure occurs. Go to your county tax office, pull the file on the property and take it to court with you, but make sure it has foreclosed and not being foreclosed on. A tenant should not expect to get the security back unless you take the landlord to court for it.

If the bank offers you a small amount of money that you do not wish to accept along with a five to ten day time frame to vacate premises, I would counter and ask for what you want, and a more reasonable time.

Do not be afraid to ask for more. If you are paying 2000 a month and you know it will cost you twice that in first month's rent and security deposit, along with moving expenses, get up and ask for it. All they can do is say yes or offer you a bit less.

The REO Agents that take on this responsibility of approaching you with the offer for the bank have more than likely been authorized to give you much more than they offer.

In some cases what you don't take the the agent gets to keep. Normally the offer is in writing. Put a line through the values there and place the value you would like to walk away with and fax back to the number on the form.

The bank in most cases gives the tenant what they ask for within reason. One month's rent, security deposit and moving expenses. Hope this helps.


I rented a house in Bremerton. Washington, and had a years lease. I put over $3000 in improvements into it before I moved in. A week after moving in I got a letter from the bank saying it had been foreclosed. The bank offered me relocation assistance money of $850. I refused the offer and made a counter offer of $2,500.00 which they accepted.

The bottom line is the relocation money is supposed to go to the tenant who is displaced. Not the landlord, who still has a place to live and who is responsible for the foreclosure. The tenant did not cause the situation and is an innocent victim.

The real estate agency handling the matter for the bank told me if I had a lease agreement for a set period of time, they had to honor that agreement and while state law says you have to pay rent during the term of the lease, federal law does not require you to pay rent -- and federal law rules. So you can stay in the house for the term of the lease without paying any rent to anyone.

However, if the bank puts the house on the market and the house sells to a new owner you have 90 days to move out and don't get any relocation assistance money.

Relocation assistance money is equivalent to three months rent and utilities. I couldn't find any law that covered relocation assistance for displaced tenants due to foreclosure, but there is a section in the RCWs (Revised Code of Washington) that talks about relocation assistance for displaced tenants as a result of an act by a government agency, city, etc. (i.e. if the house is being demolished to make way for a freeway, etc.) That's where I got the formula for calculating how much relocation assistance should be.

I don't know if it applies in this situation, but I used it as a guideline.

If you have a lease however, I would calculate how many months are left on your lease that you would not have to pay rent, and use that as a way to negotiate a reasonable amount for moving. That's money lost to them if you are not paying. Plus there is always the worry the house won't be maintained or may be damaged during that time which would cost them money also.

While I got $2500, I still lost out on the improvements I made to the house. I will have to sue the previous landlord to get that money back.


Does anyone answer these questions? Where can an interested person who wants to help get answers? I think I can help solve the catch 22 problem the renters are facing. They can't collect the cash for keys until they move out, but they can't move out until they have the cash so they can move in somewhere else.


What are the terms for the tenant to receive cash for keys? My son is a renter and they offered him $2000 to move in two weeks. He has two small sons and one is in school. What are their rights? I think they are being lowballed. worried mom


Make sure you ask before you sign anything, anon70440. Maybe talk with a lawyer about options that won't haunt you down the road.

The bank might only tell you something that will be in their best interests. One thing is for sure, it will be years before everything gets back to anything close to normal like it was before.

I watch everything I spend now. With so many people hurting to keep a roof over their heads, it would be nice to find someone that could rent a room in your house and pay on utilities to get you by in the meantime.


My husband has always been a few months ahead of his mortgage payment, and we have always had plenty of extra money to save and pay all of our bills. But we bought our house before all of this started, and are now dipping into our savings to make the house payments, but that won't last forever.

I feel that we bought a house well within our budget, and have always been very responsible. We would like to sell our house now that my husband has lost 70 percent of his pay, but we will lose such a huge amount, that buying a smaller house would put us at about the same payments we're making now by having to pay the difference on this house!

What are people like us supposed to do? I have been applying for jobs to try and help out, but in our area jobs are few and far between!


I think the cash for keys is a big scam because it has been highly publicized that you can give the bank permission to sell your house at a much lower price then the owed principal.

However, you get a phone call later after it is sold that you owe the difference in the principal lost. Therefore, you still have to file bankruptcy in order to get out from under the whole thing.


awjones, I don't understand why I should pay rent to a former landlord when the landlord doesn't even own the property anymore.

The only reason I paid rent in the first place is so that I could live there, and now it's being taken away. So I don't understand how it would be fair for me to be paying for something that is being taken from me just because you have to pay for it.

You get to keep your crappy rental, while I am being forced to search for another one, quick. Talk about unfair!


please help me. i am a single mother of five children. i am renting this house and recently i received a letter saying that the house is in foreclosure.

i called the number that was there and all they told me was to call back in may to see if the house has been put up for sale, yet the owner keeps telling me to pay him the rent and is harassing me before the day rent is due.

what do i do? i don't have money to move and i don't want to live in the street with my five children. please advise me on what to do. thank you.


I think it's a shame and moral disgrace! My neighbor did not pay rent for six months and is given $2,500 "cash for keys"!

I am disabled, living on $845 a month and as a respectable person have paid rent every month for five years. This whole situation put me in the hospital with panic attacks.

Being without money, I have had to accept a rental that is gross, dirty everything, nasty old carpet that rats lived on plus pay top dollar and told to be happy I get any "cash for keys". Not only have I been robbed of my previous paid deposits and put in an even worse financial hardship, but robbed of my pride!

Where is the help for us older folks? Life is so unfair!


help. I recently found out the home i have been living in for the past three years is up for auction on march 2. what happens next? where do i go with my six kids and find a place big enough and affordable? how do i get reimbursed and on the program to help me move? thanks


I received a notice from the realty company saying the cash for keys program was on a case by case basis. i had roommates that moved out. they where helping with rent and utilities until Nov. 2009.

I have incurred all cost of utilities plus repair of the circuit breaker for the heating of the second and third floors of a multi-family unit. I'm also on a fixed income as is one remaining roommate.

The former landlord stopped mortgage payments dec 2009.


For you people who think you shouldn't buy unless you can keep it up, well, try this one out. My father could afford to buy and he did. And then a year later while on a business trip he slipped on an icy curb at a gas station and broke his ankle. He has since lost all the nerves in both legs and will be in pain for the rest of his life.

He has had nine surgeries and amputation is the only one the doctors will do next, and even then he may still have phantom pains. So now without much income and $400 a month in pain pills, he can no longer keep himself afloat.

He is going to live with me and my husband as we are making a move out of state and with time I should be able to get him happy and healthy again. But with him owing $72,000 on his condo and them only selling for $30,000, what choice does he have?


Perks for certain situations?

I am a single mother of one who, after nine almost ten years of renting from the same landlord, just for the first time received this notice: Resident of property subject to foreclosure sale in my mailbox in January. Upon arriving home a few days ago, I found the Notice of Trustee's Sale, which states that the property where I rent will be sold at auction in about two weeks at the county courthouse at 9:30 a.m. Not once have I gone without paying or bounced a rent check in all of the years.

Even with that reputation, I was shown no love from the landlord. He continued to collect and cash my payments without giving me a heads up.

To top it off, my job will soon be coming to an end, due to outsourcing to another country.

I ask you now: is the cash for keys program needed for the renter who endlessly paid the rent? Should it be paid to the tenant who was faulty at paying the rent? Or for the landlord who collected the rent and did not pay their mortgage?

In my opinion the socialist democrats (as another anonymous poster put it) are leaning in the right direction but I think what should be added to this is a penalty to be put upon the landlord to repay the amount given to the tenant for the cash for keys program; along with any and all deposit(s) amount(s) paid to the landlord by the tenant at time in which the initial rental agreement came into effect.

After all there is to some extent pain and suffering that will be endured by the renter.

Please post your comments, concerns, opinions and or tip(s) as to what my options are. Need help desperately.


In my opinion, this cash for keys is another complex banking/real estate paperwork scam. they offer very low sums of money to get you to move quickly, and usually they are partnered with a local real estate agent. It is the old good guy- bad guy set up.

On top of that, if you can get money from the bank from the cash for keys program, the federal government and the state governments get their share of it from taxes, so you end up with very little for all they put you through. Nothing is free in this world, so do not fall for the cash for keys scam. I recently went through it, and it was not a very good experience.


Yet another program for people that shouldn't have had the mortgage in the first place. People who weren't fiscally responsible fail to make payments, and get rewarded to get their butt out of someone else's home.

More taxpayer burden created by the socialist democrats that we'll stick to our children. Where is the personal pride in taking this money? What a damn shame. Now you'll hear all the sad stories.

People shouldn't buy unless they are capable of owning a home. There is nothing wrong with renting.


This whole situation stinks, with landlords withholding information from tenants. I just moved into a rental in November and have now found out that the house has been foreclosed by Fannie Mae.

The Realtors came and offered the cash for keys program without much information on my "options". If I take the money, I have to move out fast, like two weeks. The longer I take, the less money to move until the offer is void.

How do you tell your kids that we have to find a new home by Christmas? We won't have a Christmas because I'm busy trying to relocate my family of eight.

I'm trying to be understanding of the other side, but at the same time where is the compassion for the family that is being relocated and ousted at a moments notice?


I have recently received a default letter from the bank on a house that I am currently renting. My leasing company says I technically have till the end of the year to stay in the house. Being a single mother of two kids, I do not think I should wait it out. I heard from a friend about Cash for Keys program. How can I be eligible for this? I really need assistance in getting into another home and most importantly funds to pay my deposits.


What a sad situation! We also rented a home that sold today on auction. It reverted back to the bank and I am sure that someone will come knocking on my door telling me that I have so many days to get out. I thought with Obama's signing of the renter's law in May 2009 that renters had 90 days to leave the property. I am in a month to month lease at the moment and lost just over $10,000 in rent. I want to stay in the house through Christmas and not disrupt my children during that time. This is a horribly frustrating situation.


please help i just got told on this week that i have to move out of my home (rented) by the end of the month due to foreclosure. how can i qualify for cash for keys? --nanette


If a renter has not been paying, and the house goes into foreclosure, is the renter eligible for cash for keys? How do i let the new buyer know that this guy is a shyster and specifically waiting for this "cash for keys" money?


cash first keys later. well I need first month

last month plus deposit, and how am I to move out if I need the money to move? It does not make sense to wait for the money after I move out, because I don't have the money to move out. In the other hand once I move, and what if the money is not given?

do not sign anything unless the money comes first.


my house was scheduled to be sold as forclosure today. would i qualify for cash for keys?


when it comes down to "cash for keys", the tenant needs the money to move out, yet the person who bought our house at auction doesn't want to give any money over until the house has been emptied and "inspected". how do yu get over this hurdle?


my ex is trying to move back into a foreclosed home where he was a tenant, and was already evicted and moved out, to benefit from cash for keys, but he never had a lease or any contract or anything in writing saying that he was a tenant. he paid no security deposit and only paid first month move in and that's it. he has damaged the home by putting holes in the wall etc. and it was bought by a private party and is not owned by the bank or the state. is he eligible for cash for keys or is he kidding himself?


My landlord was collecting rent from us while trying to sell the house we live in. He stopped collecting rent and now the house has been sold. The realtor told us that the final sale will be finished on August 31 and they are saying that we have 5 days after that to vacate the property. We were told by our roommate that this was happening and he found out over the phone. Don't they have to serve us with eviction papers? Do we qualify for cash-for-keys? What legal rights do we have? Please help!


What I want to know is we are the owner of the home we are currently residing. We were told by a childhood friend who is a reality that our house is not in a foreclosed status. Our lender told us that our home is up for sale/auction on Aug 10. How do we get cash for keys from our lender before the sale date? With the person who purchase our house in the next week and a half? Can we ask for cash for keys or does it have to be offered to us?


I recently moved into this house in October of last year. I had to come up with 3200.00 to move in. Each month I paid my rent. There were months that I also paid for repairs that my landlord did not complete. For all practical purposes I was acting as if this was *my* own property. In early May at 7 a.m. the landlord came to my door telling me he has decided to let the property go into foreclosure since he did not qualify for a remod of his loan because this was not his primary residence. I immediately went down to my county recorders office and found that he stopped payments the month after I moved in. He also approached me asking if I would allow him to hang out here and put all utilities in his name and then he could just "tell" the remod people he lived here and get the loan. This was totally unacceptable to me. He informed me that he wants me out so he could get someone else to move in and be able to get the "move in" and, in his words, "let them deal with the bank." So, you see, not all the landlords that are allowing foreclosures are not getting rent. This man, here in Stockton, Ca., was getting his rent and improvements to his property and didn't give a rat's butt about a disabled woman with children! So, where's the justice in that?


My Girlfriend recently signed a year lease just last friday, a gentleman came to her door to let her know that the house is now owned by the bank on the spot he offered here $1900.00 now he is offering her $1500.00 and threatening eviction. My questions are

1. What rights does she have?

2. How do you place an Eviction on someone's credit that you have no info on?

3. What is a fair amount for cash for keys on a 3400 sq ft home?

4. Is there a program that helps with relocation opposed to money?

She just paid out a total of $6500.0 in Jan. Also just paid her rent of 1650.00 please help.

She is broke and so am I.


My house is in foreclosure next month. I need the tenant to move out because I have to shut off water and electricity when I move out. The house has a front and back, so I lease the front house and live in the back house. The tenant did not pay rent for 2 months and is way behind on utilities bill. All the bills are under my name so I have to come up with the money to pay every month. Plus I need my furniture back since I leased it furnished.

His lease was up last month and he refused to leave, he told me that he will stay for free in this house until the new owner take over.

What are my rights? Please help!


I believe that the cash for keys meant for renters means that the renters vacate the premises and hand over the keys. When a landlord surrenders their foreclosed property it is no longer theirs. Once a foreclosure notice is posted the renters have 60 days renting under the current contract that they signed when they first got the place. Usually if it is a bank they will just want the renters gone, they don't want to deal with that so they will go for the cash for keys. If it is a new landlord they have to honor the previous rent contract for 60 days, including your previous rent payment to the last landlord provided that you have receipt of that payment, i.e. rent is due on May 1st, you pay that to company A, then the property goes to auction on the 6th and company B buys it. You then give a copy of the receipt for May's rent from company A to validate your rent for that month. Then on June 1st you owe rent to company B at whatever rate was negotiated with them.


If the house is in foreclosure then the renter is going to have to move regardless of whether or not there is a cash for keys deal. Most landlords won't let the house foreclose if they are receiving rent, so most of these stories about landlords keeping the cash for keys are probably not receiving rent from the renters anyway and deserve whatever they can get from the foreclosure.


This certainly seems to be a new scam for people that own houses that they sold to people that allowed it to go into foreclosure. They make the people move out, then rent it out to someone else for monthly rent money while they try to resale and quicksale it, throw the renters out when the bank offers cash for keys, then they keep the cash for keys instead of giving it to the person that has to pay for the move. A LOT of them are doing this now, if it isn't illegal, I'm surprised. It should be. That's just stealing from Peter to pay Paul and robbing the's a sad world we live in. I heard someone in Jersey took their landlord to court and "won" that money back.


Just a month ago I found out that the house I'm renting has been foreclosed and I have already given him the money for that month's rent. Am I entitled to take back the money that I gave him after the house was foreclosed? Even though I took the Cash for Keys.


my cousin lives in rental in cal-- it was foreclosed on by bank. a real estate agent has contacted about cash for keys-- but she needs a lot more money than being offered to her. she is ignoring offer- and is scheduled for major surgery in early jan. she cannot move for several months-- maybe 6 or more-- what are her options?????


If a renter of a home that has been foreclosed upon has accepted "cash for keys," does the Realtor who rented that person the home have the right to tell the renter that they should not have accepted any money because now they will try to get that money back from the owner of the home and ask that the renter give the money to the Realtor?


Can a renter of a sold at auction home expect to get her security deposit back from the new owner (the bank) when she moves out, even though the security deposit was paid to the former owner?


Does a landlord have the right to take all the cash- for-keys money, even if the landlord does not live in the house, and not have to give any of it to the renters? Then the renters are the ones who have to scramble out of the house with no cash-for-keys money.


If a renter of a home that has been foreclosed upon has accepted "cash for keys," does the Realtor who rented that person the home have the right to tell the renter that they should not have accepted any money because now they will try to get that money back from the owner of the home and ask that the renter give the money to the Realtor?

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