Q: I recently purchased a home in Baltimore, Md. from a person who is a real estate agent as well as the owner of the property.

It appears that the seller was using the residence as a rental prior to renovating and placing the home on the market. When I arrived home on a recent Monday night there was a summons posted to the door requesting a judge to grant “ejectment” of “unknown tenant” and the return of the domicile. It was addressed to my seller at my address.

The summons was not delivered by a Sheriff, because that section was blank. According to the documents it appears that the seller sued the tenants for eviction stating that there was no rent paid for over six months.

I’m no attorney but reading the legal arguments for relief they appear to be really feeble at best, but my concern is only in a possible default judgment if I don’t respond.

I called my agent who in turn spoke to the seller who stated that he intended to respond but I did not have to. I then requested a copy of his response.

Should I should respond or call the attorney listed to inform them the home is no longer a rental and has changed ownership?

A: It appears from what you indicate that the summons does not list you but rather lists former residents of the home. If you are not on the summons, you probably don’t need to worry.

If you want more information, you should call your own attorney, if you have one, and ask him or her to follow up to make sure that you are not liable in some way.

Finally, I hope you bought an owner’s title insurance policy since. It is possible that the person you think is the seller may in fact not be the owner. False owner scams are increasingly prevalent throughout the country. In other words, someone who isn’t the owner may have posed as the property owner in order to sell the property and skim the equity.

If this is the case, you will need to have a conversation with an attorney who can represent your interests in this matter.

Published: Oct 31, 2005