How can I get my deposit back from the seller when they sold the property to someone else and didn’t tell us they had sold it?.

We gave $500 for a mobile home as a deposit. The seller said that the loan did not go through. We said please let us know when they were going to try again to get another loan. We did not hear from them for several months. I wrote and told them that if they could not pay back the wole amount they could do it in installments. After a while I contacted the park and was told that they house was sold to someone else and the sellers were nowhere to be found. I was informed by him that they had all sorts of trouble and problems, which I know now ere not true. What can I do to get my $500 back?

Asked on June 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It sounds like the sellers took your money and ran.  You may have a couple of options available.  The first will depend on any contractual agreements that you signed.  If your contract said they get to keep the deposit regardless of the outcome, you won't have many civil remedies.  If the contract provided for a return or partial return, you need to start off by following any written procedures.  If this was a verbal contract, you need to send a letter to them demanding a return of the deposit for non-performance.  From there, you can file a claim in small claims court (like JP court) for conversion or breach of contract.  If these people took your money and never really had any intention of selling you anything, you may have additional criminal options.  They should have been able to return your money immediately if the loan didn't go through.  The fact that you haven't heard from them for several months and the park has also had issues with them is a disturbing indicator that you may have been scammed.  You can call your local law enforcement agency to set up a meeting with an investigator... they may have other victims they are working on the same person.  Regardless of which route you take, you need to start getting something moving.  The statute of limitations for a civil suit and for a basic theft offense are only a couple of years.  You mention that it's been "months" since you've heard from them.  You don't want to let your time limit lapse.


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