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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I have an expired land contract that was never actually filed

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I have an expired land contract that was never actually filed in Kenosha, WI. It expired last year. The price was "undisclosed". The market here has tanked. The house is upside $30,000. The agreement was changed verbally last year when the "landlord" asked us to sign on to his mortgage company and add our bank account as his wife wasn't very good with money. We were paying the mortgage company directly then. Flash forward 1 year and the house payment went from $1600 to $3600 because the taxes were never paid. I tried paying the $3600 but after 2 months I cannot afford the payment anymore. We've emailed the "landlord" (which I might add was, emphasize was, a very good friend and told them we are leaving June 1st. They haven't responded. This was also after the wife of the landlord came by last Sunday and said they think they are able to sell it now for what they owe. So what is the recourse they have against us with having an expired, unfiled land contract and verbal agreements that have gone south?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Under the Statute of Frauds any contract for real estate must be in writing and under the Parol Evidence Rule any oral agreement cannot be introduced to change the terms of a written agreement. Thus, if the contract is expired it is no longer enforceable against you.

The only concern about this is what you mention about "signing onto his mortgage company" can you explain what you did with that matter and we can discuss this a bit more?

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Law Educator, Esq. and 4 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He came over in a panic and asked us if we could pay his mortgage company directly out of our bank account via direct debit from our bank account. We said yes because we were friends and were trying to help him out. His wife is a compulsive spender and was cashing the checks we were giving him and spending the money. Was that wrong? We stopped the payments and notified them we were vacating as of June 1st and have heard nothing from them.

Okay, thank you for clarification.

No it was not wrong to pay the mortgage. I was just worried you signed some document binding you further in the land contract. My original answer remains based on this additional information, the expired land contract is no longer enforceable against you and you are a tenant nothing more and a tenant at will or a month to month tenant without a lease and as such 30 day notice is all that is required for you to end the lease.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My issue is that we went from roughly $1600 a month and paid 2 payments at the higher rate of $3600. Which includes their property taxes. I reversed this last payment (for may) because our agreement didn't include the $3600. It was only paying what the payment was when we signed on to his mortgage company. Can I fill a dispute with my bank for the previous two payments without harm coming from the landlords or I do I walk away? And all your answers apply to Wisconsin law?

Thank you for your question follow up.

My answers are based on WI law. If they withdrew $3600 from your bank without your authorization as all you authorized was $1600, then you can dispute it with your bank but it is likely too late for the bank to reverse the payments and in order to seek a refund of any overpayment you would have to sue the landlord for recovery.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay, things have gotten much worse. They are here having showings every day. They also emailed, yes emailed, a 5 day notice. Remember, this is Wisconsin. I spoke with a sheriff whom said well, you got it because you are questioning it but he didn't and hasn't ever heard of anyone getting "served" from a email. They also have emailed us and told us they are having an open house tomorrow and Sunday. The email reads: The open will be the duration of the garage sale as prospective buyers may be in the neighborhood (largest subdivision sale in the county of Kenosha, I added that) this is a prime opportunity for selling purposes hence our decision stands firm to hold the open house on Saturday during the garage sale and Sunday afternoon (between 1-4. That is verbatim as to what they wrote with exception to me adding this weekend is the largest accumulation of garage sales in the county. It's also my daughter's 7th birthday which is Saturday which they know as they were my friends for 10 years prior. Now my issue is that they have fliers out and adds on Craigslist stating the open house is from 10-4pm. That means they are going to be sitting here for 12 hours out of that 24 hour time period but their email states 1-4p. The sheriff said, technically, because it's civil we don't even have to let them in, period. We will be out in 10 days. Does the notice they served us via email hold water? Do I have to let them in at 10am for the open house or 1pm? Is being here for 12 hours over a 24 hour period reasonable? Is parading people into my house that are arguing over $1 socks safe? Who is responsible for watching our stuff? He (landlord) already yelled at my dad tonight because he was here and the landlord told my dad he had no rights and because he wasn't paying rent here. HELP!
Thank you for your update.

Email notice is not proper notice. They have to serve you written notice in person or by delivery to the house. You do not have to let them into the property and holding a 12 hour open house is not reasonable. What you need to do is file suit against the landlord for unlawful constructive eviction and retaliation against you and seek an injunction against them to prohibit them from coming onto the property without proper notice and for such an unreasonable time period.

The landlord, when they show the property is responsible for safeguarding the property of the tenants if the tenants are still in the property.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I spoke with the sheriff's department and technically we don't have to let them in. I also forgot to add that the landlord got in my father's face yesterday and pushed him and told him he had to right to be here because he didn't pay rent. So having an open house from 10am to 4pm today and 1p to 4p tomorrow is unreasonable? You are sure? That's 9 hours over the course of 24 hours that they expect to be in our home. Thoughts? Am I able to request that all people in the home sign in so that we have a list in case stuff is missing? I mean they are literally allowing people in that are haggling over $1 socks in our garage right now!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

When a 5 day notice in the State of Wisconsin is served, I know some laws have changed, what is the process? Does the day served count? Do weekends count? Do holidays count? We are out of here on the 31st and they just can't seem to leave us alone. Everyday they are here doing something but like I said they didn't serve us in person, it was via email, I had to print it off. Even at the bottom of the form it stated this isn't a court document.
Thank you for your response.

I did say as well you do not have to let them in because of the improper notice and unreasonable notice.

Once the 5 day notice is served, if you do not leave in the 5 days they have to file a suit for an eviction in the court. The 5 days are 5 calendar days, which means weekends and holidays count. The email notice, as I stated is not a proper notice, it has to be personal service of the notice to evict. You can go to court Monday and file suit for constructive unlawful eviction based on the improper notice and also the harassment with the open house.