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ScottyMacESQ
ScottyMacESQ, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 15743
Experience:  Licensed General Practice Attorney, Texas
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I recently moved into a house with a verbal agreement with

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I recently moved into a house with a verbal agreement with the landlord that we would be prepared to purchase in 90 days, well I actually got pre-qualified in 3 weeks I sent several text messages to my landlord stating the terms of the agreement and that I was ready and he never replied or answered the phone. He finally sent a text message and said the deal is off after I spent days cleaning and gave a good faith deposit of $1300.00 that I considered an earnest money deposit. Is there anything I can do?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. You can most likely get that money back, as it was "promissory estoppel" (in that you did have an oral agreement where he promised this to you and you relied upon the agreement to your financial detriment). You wouldn't have a case for him to actually sell and transfer you the property, as contracts for the sale of real estate have to be in writing, signed by the "party to be charged" (the party you're seeking to enforce the contract against. This is called the "statute of frauds".

Here's the specific Georgia statute:

O.C.G.A. 13-5-30 (2010)
13-5-30. Agreements required to be in writing

To make the following obligations binding on the promisor, the promise must be in writing and signed by the party to be charged therewith or some person lawfully authorized by him:
(1) A promise by an executor, administrator, guardian, or trustee to answer damages out of his own estate;
(2) A promise to answer for the debt, default, or miscarriage of another;
(3) Any agreement made upon consideration of marriage, except marriage articles as provided in Article 3 of Chapter 3 of Title 19;
(4) Any contract for sale of lands, or any interest in, or concerning lands;

As it was a verbal agreement, it would not be binding. Again, you could use promissory estoppel to get that money back that you reasonably paid in reliance of that agreement, but you wouldn't be able to get the benefit of the bargain (the property).

Send a demand letter demanding payment within 30 days, otherwise you will pursue legal action against him, seeking that amount plus any additional damages as allowed by law. Send this letter certified, return receipt requested, as well as a copy sent regular mail. Keep a copy for yourself, as well as the return receipt number so that you can show the court that you made a demand for the amount paid.

Do a search on the web for your county and "small claims court." You should find either a website or phone number to the small claims clerk. Ask them what you need to do to bring such a lawsuit. The small claims clerk will give you guidance on how to file this suit and how to get the other party served with notice. You will receive a hearing date, at which you should present your evidence and ask for a judgment for the amount that you paid.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 9 months ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 9 months ago.

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions)

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 9 months ago.

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 9 months ago.

My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time (> 1 HOUR) and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it 3 or more stars (good or better) AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 9 months ago.

I see that you have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** good luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 9 months ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 9 months ago.

I see that you have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know.If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** good luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 9 months ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

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