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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Back in 2007 my husband and I entered into a Contract for Deed

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Back in 2007 my husband and I entered into a Contract for Deed to buy a house from another couple.

1st issue: In the contract it states - Sellers shall have the continuing obligation to keep current on payments of existing sellers mortgage to Seller's lender and that Sellers provide to Buyers (us) any and all information pertaining to Seller's loan status, including payoff date, remaining loan balance, currency of real estate taxes and insurance payments and notification in the event Seller's choose to pay off their loan earlier than the scheduled date. Sellers shall provide proof to Buyers that all due payments of taxes, insurance and mortgage are kept current and up to date.

The sellers have a loan with a mortgage company on the home we are buying from them, they are suppose to provide us monthly statements showing they are paying their mortgage, also the taxes and insurance are in their names, but we pay them extra monthly that is to be put in escrow to pay these, and they are suppose to show regular proof they been paid, they have failed to do so since 2009 and have never shown any proof they've paid their mortgage on this place to their mortgage company, when we have asked them about this and asked for proof, they tell us they don't have to, it is none of our business, even though in contract they are suppose to.

2nd issue: they falsified at least 12 (possibly more) things in the Seller's Disclosure Statement for Residential Property, ranging from the age of the heating/air system, that roof never leaked - but we discovered it had many leaks and they patched/painted over/hid these leaks and evidence of, said there was no plumbing issues - but we have had replace nearly all the plumbing since we been here, it appeared there was poorly made attempts to fix some plumbing at some point, they said there were no problems with septic and sewage - wrong, we had to have emptied the first month here it was so badly clogged and full, said there was no problems with sub-floors, walls or ceiling - we had to completely gut out one the bathrooms first year here the tub was falling through the floor and the walls surrounding were so full of mold they had to be replaced also, we are in process still replacing floors through out the house were they are rotting and falling through, and there is no insulation under the house at all, which they said there was (it is a mobile home btw), the outside exterior had several areas we found they attempted patching were it had rotted out, they said never had problems with termites, we found termites, said no problems with out side drainage issue or flooding, but there is, said no mold in house, we have found mold in nearly every room in the house, they said there were no broken or unoperable windows - there are 4 windows in house either broken or inoperable, they said carpet never been laid on any damaged flooring, we had too pull all the carpet in house the first month here it spelt like cat urine so bad made us sick - all the subflooring underneath was damaged in areas, which we are in process still trying to replace, they also said the gutters were in good condition, they are all rusted throught and water literally pours down the sides of house like a water fall.

We been trying to fix all these problems since we been here and it is costing us a lot of money we don't have.

Is there anything we can do? Is there any recourse or action that can be taken?
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Real Estate litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

1. If your contract says that the sellers are supposed to provide this information to you, then you have a right to enforce that provision. If the sellers refuse to provide the information, they are in breach of the contract - - and you have a few options. First, you could seek to cancel the contract based on the breach OR you could sue for specific performance, which is a lawsuit that asks the court to order the sellers to specifically perform the provision/s of the contract that they're currently in breach of. Essentially, you would ask the judge to order the sellers to provide the information as required in the contract, and if they fail to do so, the judge could hold them in contempt - - which could result in fines or even jail time.

2. As for the fraudulent/false information provided in the disclosure statement, you can likewise sue the sellers for material misrepresentation and claim damages for the misrepresentations made to you in the disclosures. If you can prove that the sellers negligently or intentionally failed to disclose the information to you, then you have a right to sue and seek damages for the misrepresentation - - you can also seek to cancel the contract given the disclosures IF they are severe enough to justify a complete cancellation (which is a call the judge would make based on the facts).

You certainly should consult an attorney if you plan to take action against the sellers for their failures to disclose/misrepresentations and the failure to abide by the terms of the contract.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much. That's what we thought but wanted to make sure before we pursued any course of action and had to put out money to hire an attorney. Is there any way to get back any the money we have paid on this place and any the money we have put into on repairs so far?

It is possible to seek to cancel the contract and receive damages for the breach and failure to make material disclosures. If the acts are egregious enough, the court can find that the contract should be cancelled and that you be repaid all money paid over for the purchase and also for the damages resulting from the things you've repaired that wasn't disclosed.

Whether this is possible depends on the facts of your case and what the judge thinks of them. While that is an extreme result, it is possible.
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