What are my rights if the owner of my lease-to-own property is reneging on our deal?owner breaking contract?

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What are my rights if the owner of my lease-to-own property is reneging on our deal?owner breaking contract?

I have a lease to own contract that I put all my savings into $19,000 6 years ago to purchase this house. I was even approved 2 yeas ago but the owner never went to sign the finishing documents now the owner is changing his mind and not wanting to selling the property now that the house doubled in price. Can he do that?

Asked on December 19, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Contracts are legally binding and can be enforced in court: if you complied with all your obligations under the contract (e.g. made all payments), then if the owner will not voluntarily honor his obligation and sell you the house, you could sue him for breach of contract; when party A does its part, then party B must do what it is supposed to. You would sue him for both "specific performance," or a court order that he complete the sale, and also (in the alternative; you can request alternative "relief" from the court) for monetary compensation, such as the return of what you paid, possibly with interest or additional compensation, since some courts or judges dislike specific performance even in real estate cases and prefer to order the payment of money rather than the strict enforcement of the contract's terms. (By requesting boht specific performance and monetary compensation, you should at least get one of them.) You technically do not need an attorney--you can sue as your own attorney, or "pro se," and can get instructions from the courthouse. It would, of course, be better to have a lawyer if possible.


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