I have leased a private single family residence in Florida for 18 months. Last evening I was served a summons as "John Doe" (Defendant) at the residence address in a lawsuit to foreclose on the property due to default on the note/mortgage by the Landlord/Owner.
It appears the Landlord/Owner has made no mortgage loan payments between August 1, 2001 and December 20, 2001 (the date on the Summons). A total of $5600 in loan interest and other fees are due for that period on a principal balance of $100K. In other words, the Landlord/Owner has been "keeping" my monthly rent payments since August 1st, but not been making any required mortgage loan payments.
Have I essentially just been given "notice" to vacate this property? Should I send the Landlord my rent check for January? Or perhaps should I send the rent check to the law firm (their trust account) representing the mortgagee? Should I contact mortgagee's attorney regarding this situation? I will owe rent for the month of January, but if I send it to the Landlord, he will likely just put it in his pocket; but if I sent it to Plaintiff's attorney, wouldn't I breach the lease agreement with the Landlord?
After 18 months, I'm now on a month-to-month rental basis and have few rights in terms of the lease agreement, i.e., security & cleaning deposits, etc. of concern, but I'd rather not leave if I don't have to (costs of packing household goods, shipping, new lease deposits & fees, etc.).
Also, although I'm not specifically "named" in the complaint, I was served as "John Doe" at the residence address. What are my obligations regarding the legal matters, and how can I "stay out of it" and not have any of this situation reflected against me personally in any public records?
I'd appreciate advice in this matter and any other suggestions you may offer. Thank you.