Dear Customer,I am sorry to learn of this situation.You are going to want to retain a civil litigation attorney with experience in real estate
law to represent you in this matter.(I know that customers do not come to this site to be told "go hire a lawyer" but I am going to explain to you why this is the best answer for your specific question and why you are going to want to be overly cautious (hiring a lawyer as opposed to doing this yourself) while taking action here).Carrying papers, or land sales contracts, or holding deeds (whatever term you wish to apply to it) are very risky transactions for both parties. However I will focus on the risks for your side as the seller, and more specifically on the enforcement at the far end of the transaction.As a hybrid between a lease and a sale, there is a combination of both "landlord/tenant" remedies (eviction
) and "mortgage" remedies (foreclosure) which come into play. Earlier in the transaction (so closer to the 1998 time frame) courts are more likely to permit you to utilize the landlord/tenant portion (so allow you to simply evict the tenant/buyer). However, as the buyer has paid more and more into the property purchase price, the court is more likely to force the seller to take a foreclosure action (meaning require the seller to actually go through the foreclosure and sale process just like a traditional mortgage lender), at which time, the buyer may even be entitled to a portion of the equity in the home (assuming there is any - based on what you are posting here, I doubt this is going to apply to your situation, but I include it to help illustrate the distinction between the two remedies here).In your case you have the further complication of the bankruptcy. You need an attorney to review how your purchase agreement was actually treated in the bankruptcy court (I cannot tell you what happened simply by you telling me that he went through bankruptcy, you need a local attorney to go through his bankruptcy with a fine tooth comb). However, this is almost certainly going to assist you in improving your position. Ideally, you are going to be able to take the combination of all of these factors and come up with either a strategy that permits you to (1) pursue an eviction (show that this really should be treated as a landlord/tenant matter; (2) negotiate something with the buyer to encourage them to leave (this is a good risk mitigation strategy, it may not have the same appeal as going to court and getting an order forcing them to do something, but it can take away a lot of the risk); or (3) identifying a strategy to move forward with a foreclosure in coordination with the lender that allows you to perform a "trustee's sale" that will ensure a payoff of the current loan (if at all possible getting a market sale as opposed to an auction sale - having the court allow you to sell the property on the open market as opposed to forcing an auction almost always gets a higher price - most courts will permit this).But again, you really want an attorney to help you navigate this process - you have a high risk situation and a lot of different procedural hurdles to deal with all at the same time. You can try it on your own, but I don't think it is going to make good business sense to do so (the money you save on an attorney is probably going to be lost on the transaction).You can find local attorneys using the State and local Bar Association
directories, or private directories such as www.AVVO.com; www.FindLaw.com; or www.Martindale.com (I personally find www.AVVO.com to be the most user friendly).