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I bought a house on land contract my house payments are due the 12th of each month. The seller changed address where I was supposed to send my house payment they left no forwarding address so the house payment was returned to me the envelope was postmarked April 5th I contacted the seller to ask him if they received my house payment April the 14th because I had not been withdrawn from my bank account. She said no and then on the 16th of April she sent me an email stating see new address below That’s 3 days after my house payment was due. I received the envelope back to my home address April 30th I took it into their new office during new address May 1st. In my land contract it states If I’m 14 days late I have to pay a 50 late fee. She’s trying to hold this to me even though she did not inform me that they had moved their address until after my house payment was already due and late because of her negligence. My options are?
Asked on May 1, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Michigan
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 5 years ago | Contributor
A party cannot charge you for things which are its fault: if she moved without a forwarding address or something similar, you are not liable for any delay caused by that.
HOWEVER, you are responsible for delays that are your own doing. You write that you received her new address from her on the 16th; so long as they received the money within 12 days of that, you would have been fine (since owing to her failure to provide you the address initially, the 16th of that month, when you received the address, would effectively be treated as the 1st and you'd have 12 days from then). But you write that you took the money to them on May 1st--that is 15 days after you had their address. You therefore delayed more than 12 days from when you knew where to send the money. That excessive delay, which is your own doing, would make you liable for the late penalty.
It does not matter that you received the envelop with your payment back on April 30th--you should have paid her while waiting for the return of that envelop. The law does not give you extra time to pay due to your finances--e.g. if you needed the return of the money to pay. In the situation you describe, you do appear to have paid late even after being given the correct address.
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