What if the Seller Won’t Move Out

Buying a home is often a smooth process, but complications can arise, especially if a seller refuses to move out after closing. Fortunately, recent changes in the law provide better protection for buyers in such situations. Understanding these legal options is crucial for safeguarding your investment and ensuring a smooth transition into your new home.

Previously, buyers faced a lengthy and cumbersome process known as an ejectment action to remove a seller who refused to vacate. However, the new law introduces an expedited remedy: the unlawful detainer process, commonly associated with eviction cases. This change allows buyers to remove a non-compliant seller more swiftly under specific conditions.

Conditions for Unlawful Detainer

To utilize the expedited unlawful detainer process, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Short-Term Rent-Back Agreement: The rent-back agreement must allow the seller to remain in the property for no more than three months after closing.
  2. Non-Distressed Property: The property must not be classified as a distressed home, meaning it was not under threat of foreclosure.
  3. Representation: The seller must have been represented by an attorney or a real estate broker during the transaction.

If these criteria are satisfied, the buyer can proceed with the unlawful detainer action to remove the seller promptly.

Exceptions and Limitations

It’s important to note that the new law does not apply in all scenarios. If the real estate transaction fails to close, and the parties dispute responsibility, the buyer cannot use the unlawful detainer process. Instead, a quiet title and ejectment action would be necessary. Additionally, if a seller grants early possession to a buyer and the sale does not close, the seller must pursue an ejectment action if the buyer refuses to move out.

Protecting Your Rights

Navigating a failed real estate transaction can be complex and stressful. If you find yourself in a situation where a seller refuses to move out, or if a transaction fails to close and disputes arise, it’s essential to seek legal advice. Consulting with an experienced attorney can provide clarity on your rights and the best course of action.

The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer is dedicated to helping buyers understand their rights and navigate the complexities of real estate transactions. If you encounter a seller who won’t move out or face a failed transaction, our team is here to provide the legal guidance and support you need. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your case and explore your options.

By understanding and utilizing the legal protections available, you can ensure a smoother and more secure transition into your new home.