Can we be sued for moving out? regarding a rent-to-own contract?

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Can we be sued for moving out? regarding a rent-to-own contract?

We have a rent-to-own homeowner’s contract. We are worried that if we move out, even giving a 30 days notice, that we will be sued for money owed according to the contract. What should we do?

Asked on May 30, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the contract does not let you terminate it early or cancel it (e.g. does not have some early termination clause) you can be sued for the money will owe under it. A contract binds or obligates the parties according to its plain terms: if the contract requires you to pay a certain amount in total or make a certain number of payments, you must make those, unless the contract itself provides you some "out." Moving out is irrelevant to your obligations under the contract: you can still lease, buy, own, etc. property you don't live in, and the one has nothing to do with the other.
Other than some early termination or cancellation clause in the contract itself, you can only escape the contract and liabity under it if:
1) The seller breaches or violates their obligations under the contract in some material or important way; one party's material breach lets the other party treat the contract as terminated.
2) The seller committed fraud (lied to you about something important before you signed the contract, to get you to sign), which would let you void the contract.


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