Can a seller force cancellation of a contract?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a seller force cancellation of a contract?

My boyfriend and I signed a lease and a contract to buy a home last year. The
contract closing date was agreed to as July 1, 2018, giving us two years to
finalize the purchase. In the meantime, we are making monthly lease payments
on the home under a lease agreement with the seller. In the lease we agreed to
all repairs on the home in the two year term and the seller signed the lease
stating all heat air, water pipes, and appliances are in perfect working
order, in addition to the Seller Property Disclosure that stated there were no
issues with anything in the home or on the property. Immediately upon moving
in we had to spend 2000 on the air conditioning unit, we are having to pay for
leaking pipes between the second story bathroom and first story bathroom which
she later said she tried to fix but couldn’t – this was not disclosed,
replaced the water heater, and the basement flooded. None of these items were
ever discussed, or mentioned on legal forms, however after she said, yeah I
knew that and tried to fix it but I was screwed over by this repairman or that
one. We still paid for the repairs ourselves because she refused to do so.

Now she has decided she wants to go ahead and get the house sold and is trying
to force me to sign a cancellation notice. Her reasoning is that my boyfriend
doesn’t stay here in the house with me full time because he also has a home in
Tennessee. I got a certified letter from our co-represented realtor saying she
needed me to sign the cancellation since he wasn’t living in the home and it
had nothing to do with my lease agreement, that was still in effect.

1 Can they force us to sign a cancellation agreement? I feel like if I do,
she will relist the house and force me to move instead of allowing us until
next year, as agreed to in the original contract, to get married and secure
financing for the closing date of July 1, 2018.

2 Is it relevant that he is not living here full time as of yet. I have
children and until our wedding, it’s not exactly moral or ethical for us to be
living together.

Asked on July 21, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is NOT relevant that he is not living there unless--and only unless--the lease states that he must use this home as his primary place of residence. A lease is a contract; as with any other contract, 1) its terms are enforceable (which is why if you and he agreed that he would live there, his failure to do is a breach or violation of the lease); 2) neither party can add additional conditions or terms to it after it is signed--so if the lease doesn't require him to live there, the seller cannot force you to cancel or otherwise terminate the agreement do to this. As long as you are honoring your committments under the lease, it is binding and you can enforce it against her. Therefore, you do not need to, and should not, sign any cancellation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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