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Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 73
Experience:  Sworn to the California Bar in 2011. Former staff editor at The New York Times Co. and seasoned news professional of 20 years experience in the U.S. and abroad.
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I have a condo in 4-unit condominium in LA area listed. I

Customer Question

I have a condo in 4-unit condominium in LA area listed for sale. I accepted an offer from a buyer who withdrew his offer due to HOA issues. However HOA in this case is represented collectively by another unit owner (no property management) who serves as President. This president mis-managed the situation and sent to escrow non-official HOA documents with dirty laundry HOA information and scared off the buyer. What options do I have against this unit owner and/or HOA?
Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, there was full intent from the HOA president in sending out the non-official HOA documents. He acted in 'self-interest' in wanting to attract only buyer type that wants to commit to fixing HOA issues - i.e., spend a lot of money - thus the reason for going out of his way to disclose info.
Expert: replied 1 year ago.

Hi I'm Scott: Lawyers here cannot provide specific legal advice to specific legl problems, because no lawyer-client relation exists. We can speak to legal issues generally and in abstract hypothetical contexts.

Contracts are formed when an outstanding offer has been validly accepted and there is legal detriment on both sides. As you probably know, contracts for real estate generally have to be in writing to satisfy the Statue of Frauds. Because real estate is always considered unique, specific performance is available from the court in case of breach of contract -- meaning the seller can be forced to sell if he breaches, or buyer can be forced to buy if he breaches.

The first issue is whether there is a signed contract for the sale of the condo, and whether all conditions were met or waived or excused. For example, one usual condition for completing sale is the seller's obligation to be able to convey marketable title; another usual is the buyer's obtaining suitable financing.

In condo situations, there are often more conditions, including those with respect to any HOA, including buyer requiring satisfactory due diligence on the financial condition of the HOA. If a contingincy for satisfactory due diligence was included in the contract of sale, failure to finding satisfactory HOA due diligence may provide buyer the right to withdraw.

So, at the risk of sounding like a lawyer (but not meaning to pass the buck!): It depends on the exact contract and language in the contract. "Form" contracts perforce differ, especially in real estate, where every property is unique, and especialy where condos & HOA are integral to the development.

With respect to the HOA official, there is an intentional tort called "tortious interference with contract."

If it can be proven that a third party intentionally intermeddled in an attempt to thwart a contract -- prevent its formation, induce breach, altered duties or benefits -- an action for tortious interence my be possible. Because this is an intentional tort, punitive damages may be available as well as compensatory damages.

I hope this helps prove a bit more perspective: if you find this helpful, I would appreciate a positive rating -- thanks !

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