What can I do if I have a fully paid rent-to-own agreement but now the owner says that I owe more money and will not surrender the deed?

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What can I do if I have a fully paid rent-to-own agreement but now the owner says that I owe more money and will not surrender the deed?

I have lived in this home for 9 years. I have a rent to own agreement and paid in full as of 8 months ago. Now

the owner claims that I am a renter and he took me to court but it was dismissed. He still refuses to hand over

the deed claiming I owe money. He has even just sent me his property taxes and recent water bill to pay, still

in his name. I have all payment receipts and agreement. I paid in full and I cannot loose this home as I have 3 kids and I paid. This is unfair and I need someone to help me with this last phase of court so I can get my deed. I am a single mom on food stamps and I may contact legal aid. I also have been harassed and I feel extorted in this situation. He is plainly strong-arming me for what is rightfully paid for.

Asked on October 17, 2019 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A contract, including a rent-to-own agreement, can be enforced in court. You can file a lawsuit against him seeking both "specific performance," or that he turn the home over to you (title it to you) as he contractually agreed to do, and also seeking monetary compensation for any costs or losses you incurred due to his failure to honor his contract. That is how you will get the deed in your name: by suing him. A good idea is to do what you suggest and contact Legal Aid, to see if they can help. You can also contact the state Bar Association and see if they have any attorneys who, to fulfill public service obligations, may help you "pro bono" or for free.


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