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My parents are moving to Florida (Citrus County) and negotiated

Customer Question
an offer on a 5...
My parents are moving to Florida (Citrus County) and negotiated an offer on a 5 year home that has been vacant for the last 4 years. Everything looked in good shape and they were required by the realtor/gated community representative to place a required down payment as part of the offer acceptance. They arranged for an inspection and mold has been found in the home. They do not want to purchase the home now, but they have been told that the contract signed stipulates they do not get their down payment back. Since mold was not disclosed to them during this process, shouldn't they be able to get their money back? I'm concerned that the realtor/gated community is using this as a way to make money, since most everyone would walk away from a mold issue and the house has been empty so long. Any input is appreciated.
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
6/8/2011
Real Estate Lawyer: Maverick, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
Maverick
Maverick, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6,425
Experience: 20 years professional experience
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Welcome to Just Answer! My name isXXXXX very much enjoy what I do and I hope that you will benefit from this information.

 

Is there not any language in the contract that makes the contract contingent upon a home inspection passing?

 

How much was the amount of the deposit?

 

Is there any language in the contract that might imply that the deposit is refundable?

 

 

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
My understanding is that the contract stipulates the deposit money is non-fundable. When I asked about contingency upon inspection, it appeared that this was included in the contract language. I am not sure about the deposit amount as this is a transaction that my parents are involved in. The mentioned it was a significant amount and that the gated community organization had a very structured process in how they processed these contracts, more so than other development where they have lived. In our own experiences, our realtor held the earnest money, so it seems to be a shady situation. To me, without mold being disclosed, they cannot legally keep the money, but I don't know the disclosure policies in Florida. I apologize for not having the contract in front of me.
Real Estate Lawyer: Maverick, Lawyer replied 6 years ago

If there is language in the contract that make the contract itself contingent upon a passed inspection, then that is the clearest way out.

 

You alternative is to sue for something called unjust enrichment. See link below:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unjust_enrichment

 

Your argument being that what they have done is unconscionable and against public policy especially if you can show a pattern of conduct.

 

They may have other liability based on a duty to disclose known latent defects.

 

http://www.realestatelawyers.com/resources/real-estate/purchase-sale-agreements/what-happens-a-seller-fails-disclose-defects-whe

 

 

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

What about the issue of seller disclosure? Isn't the seller or their representive legally bound to disclose any known defects or issue with the property based on state disclosure laws? Otherwise there could be an abundant of issues that could be easily dismissed while they keep the earnest money.

Real Estate Lawyer: Maverick, Lawyer replied 6 years ago

Please review the original answer. I have talked about the duty to disclose latent defects. Are you asking a different question or did you just miss that?

Maverick
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