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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  I have practiced law for 25 yrs. with an emphasis on real estate, business law, criminal defense and family law.
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I owned a house in CA and signed a form allowing the city to

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I owned a house in CA and signed a form allowing the city to perform sidewalk repairs for a crack that they said must be fixed. When I sold the house, the repairs had not even begun, but i disclosed the intended repair and the buyers signed off. Now two years later i got a bill from the city. I sent them the real estate form showing that the buyers signed off, and at first they released me of the debt. Then a few weeks later, I was contacted by the city saying that the form I signed as the homeowner, stated that I was solely responsible. The form states that if not paid, the city will put a lien on the property, which I told them to do, since I am not the owner. I was then told that the lien process is not possible, since this is my debt. How am I responsible for repair , when I no longer am the homeowner, and fully disclosed the future repairs before escrow closed.??

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1. Did you disclose to your buyers that they would be responsible for payment of the repairs to be performed by the city ?

2. If so, did they agree in writing to be resposible for payment of these repairs once they were performed by the city ?




Customer: replied 4 years ago.
According to my real estate agent, the disclosure form stating that there would be repairs was all that was needed. And since they signed off, they assumed responsibility for the work, being the new homeowners. I only signed the form, because the city stated that the work had to be done. It clearly states at the bottom of the form, that if not paid a lien can be put on the property. I said, then do that. It is not my property anymore. Originally, they sent me a letter saying since I disclosed the future repairs, I was no longer liable. Then the city said that I did not credit the new buyers with the money for the repairs. They did not ask for it, nor did their real estate agent bring it up!

Hi, Chris, I'm afraid that your real estate agent is mistaken because simply informing the buyers that repairs would be made without disclosing that they would have to pay for these repairs and having them sign to be responsible, does not make them liable.


By the same token, I cannot see where you would have had to credit them with the cost of the repairs at settlement because (a) you would not be benefitting in any way from these repairs; (b) the new buyers would be occupying the property when the repairs would be performed; and (c) the buyers would be benefitting from the repairs; and (c) you would not know what the cost was at the time of settlement.


The City cannot put a lien on the property because you no longer own the property and the buyers do not have a legal obligation to pay for these repairs since they were not the party who incurred the debt.


What I would do if I were in your position would be to not mention to your buyers anything about your liability for payment of the repairs and just give them a copy of the bill and ask that they pay it since these repairs were disclosed to them. If they do not pay, and if the City sues you, then your argument to the Judge would be that:


1. The repairs benefit the owner of the property;

2. When you signed, you were the owner of the property;

3. The City did not perform the repairs in a timely fashion;

4. The City's delay in performming these repairs should not make you liable for payment since you no longer own the property and would not benefit in any way by these repairs.

5. The party who actually benefits from these repairs should be responsible for payment;

6. Had you known that you would be responsible for payment for the repairs, you would have made an appropriate adjustment on the price you placed on the house when you put it on the market for sale;




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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The form I signed several years ago, did mention the amount it would cost to do the repairs. Shouldn't the agent for the buyers have requested a copy of the intended bill at the time of closing? I don't understand why I would be liable for anything since I am no longer the owner and I signed the form when I was. Thanks so much for any additional help. You have been great and I will rate you as excellent!

Hi, Chris,


That would have been part of the disclosure that the seller would give to the prospective buyers because the buyers' attorney or real estate agent would not know whether or not you were given a cost figure.


Nevertheless, I still do not understand the rationale the City is using to hold you liable because you no longer own the property, nor will you derive any benefit from the repairs. You should write to the City, preferably to someone in authority and enumerate the reasons I specified in my previous Answer as to why you are not responsible or liable for payment. If worse came to worse and the City sued you, I think that a Judge would accept the reasons as a valid defense to the City trying to hold you liable for payment,


Thank you for the compliment, my Mom thinks I'm great, too, but that I should still strive to be better!!!



Please be kind enough to rate my service to you as "Excellent Service",


Bonus and Positive Feedback are greatly appreciated,


Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you,




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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Fantastic advice. I hope it doesnt come to the sue thing, but I will write to the city and use your points. Have a great day!