I purchased a house with a land contact and the house didnt belong to the seller

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I purchased a house with a land contact and the house didnt belong to the seller

I purchased a house with a land contact
and the house didnt belong to the
seller. I have sence met with the
sellers realty attorney and sign a
release to termate the contact. In the
contact it stated i would receive my
down payment back within 14 days. 14
days have come and gone with no return
of my 7000.00 down payment. What
should I do next

Asked on July 22, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) First, since what you describe is a crime--e.g. theft by deception (stealing by lyng)--contact the police. Not only does the alleged "seller" deserve to be prosecuted, but it is possible that involving the authorities will help get you some money.
2) Sue the alleged seller: legally, he has to return your money since the contract was void for impossibility (no one can sell something he does not owe)--IF you can find him and IF he has assets or income you can reach (both of which are *not* given; people who wold commit this type of fraud often are good at hiding themselves, their income, and their assets), you can potentially recover money from him. But be advised that if you can't locate his actual address, you can't file against him; and even if you can, if he doesn't have any assets or income you can locate, you may not be able to get anything from him, even if you sue him and win.
3) If you feel the seller's attorney either intentially/deliberately helped the seller make off with your money, or that he or she was negligent (unreasonably careless) in letting the seller take the money (the attorney should have made sure the funds were securely esecrowed), then you should sue the attorney, too.


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