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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 35866
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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My employer entered a land contract home with an attached

Customer Question

My employer entered a land contract for a home with an attached but seperate office space which our company operates from. The seller had a past due bill for electric (june-november). He (seller) rerouted power from our ac unit in order to get power to a shop he uses in the basement. Note: he was supposed to have his shop equipment out months ago. Electric was cut off to seller's past due bal, since then the buyer paid a large sum of money to reinstate electric to our office space, but areas within still have no power due the seller rerouting, buyer also has no use of the ac for home or office. Seller is now demanding buyer pay seller's past due amout (accrued prior to residency ) or he will not bring in an electician to fix what he'd done with the wiring. What recourse does they buyer have? Is this considered extortion?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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When did the seller re-route the electrical service? Before or after the sale?
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Was there anything in the contract that states that the seller gets to retain use of any portion of the house?
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If the company purchased the house, why was the seller still in possession of any part of the house if it was sold to the company?
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Is there anything in the contract that states that the seller has to remove his personal property from the dwelling?
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He rerouted the power to the workshop he's still using in the basement (on the buyers dime) about 3 weeks ago. To the best of my knowledge his things were to be cleared out months ago. We're trying to run an office with two working lights, two outlets and extension cords. His unlicensed fiddling with the power has also left the attached home with no ac. Using getting an electician in as leverage to get his old bill paid by the buyer
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Ok, if he re-routed the power after the purchase contract was entered into without permission, then he would be in breach of contract because he is not the owner of the property once he sold it and has no legal right to change anything. The buyer is under no legal obligation to pay any electric bill that the seller has incurred and could actually sue the buyer for any usage that was unauthorized.
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So his actions were unlawful and the buyer of the property would have grounds to sue him for any damages that result in having the electric service repaired so as to return it to its original condition.
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Further, if the seller didn't retain any rights to keep using the property, which would defeat the purpose of the buyer buying the property, then the buyer can legally evict the seller from the property and force him to leave and remove any personal property in the house.
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So at this point, it would be up to the buyer to initiate any legal action to evict the seller and then sue him for any repair costs due to his actions in unlawfully changing any electrical service.
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What effect could that have on the land contract? Could the seller back out of the contract leaving the buyer homeless and without a businss location? The seller has been sending very angry texts and actually coming to the property to harass the seller. There was also an incident where they ran into each other at a local hardware store where the man began shouting at the buyer.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
""What effect could that have on the land contract?""
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It wouldn't have any effect. The buyer is the equitable owner of the property even if legal title is still in the seller's name. The land contract is a legally binding document that states that the seller is selling the property to buyer and accepting payments until paid off or refinanced, just like a bank.
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If the seller tried to cancel the contract, buyer could sue for breach of contract and hold them liable for any damages incurred due to the breach. The seller is apparently under the mistaken impression that simply because the property is still in his name that he has the right to continue to use it as if he still is the owner. But this is not the case legally as the contract is binding to deliver legal possession to the buyer, if not actual legal title yet.
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thanks
Barrister

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