It’s certainly not unusual for a tenant to be the only defendant to make a court appearance in a foreclosure. Why am I here? What’s become of the lease? My rent? How long can I remain in the house?
As to the first question, tenants are joined as defendants in foreclosure as a matter of economy, avoiding the potential expedient of commencing a separate eviction action as well as giving the purchaser at the foreclosure sale (usually the suing lender) recourse to a writ of possession (a court order telling the tenant to move). The tenant becomes a trespasser once title passes. See, Redding v. Stockton, Whatley, Davin & Co., 488 So.2d 548 (Fla. 5th DCA 1986).
As to the second question, the new owner usually is not a party to the lease. If that’s the case, she bears none of the legal obligations created by the lease. The new owner has no dog in the tenant’s fight. This is not to say that the landlord is absolved of liability for breaching the lease but only that relief will await another proceeding, usually in small claims court.
The answer to the last question was provided in 2015: Florida’s good-faith tenants only have 30 days of grace after the delivery of a written notice of termination from the new owner. (A similar federal law, the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009, expired in 2014. See, https://www.occ.treas.gov/news-issuances/bulletins/2011/bulletin-2011-15.html). The notice can be mailed.
Florida Statutes sec. 83.561 provides:
As mentioned earlier, the termination of the lease is enforced by Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.580:
(a) Issuance. When a judgment or order is for the delivery of possession of real property, the judgment or order shall direct the clerk to issue a writ of possession. The clerk shall issue the writ forthwith and deliver it to the sheriff for execution.
(b) Third-Party Claims. If a person other than the party against whom the writ of possession is issued is in possession of the property, that person may retain possession of the property by filing with the sheriff an affidavit that the person is entitled to possession of the property, specifying the nature of the claim.
Thereupon the sheriff shall desist from enforcing the writ and shall serve a copy of the affidavit on the party causing issuance of the writ of possession. The party causing issuance of the writ may apply to the court for an order directing the sheriff to complete execution of the writ. The court shall determine the right of possession in the property and shall order the sheriff to continue to execute the writ or shall stay execution of the writ, if appropriate.