What can I do regarding a rent-to-own scam?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What can I do regarding a rent-to-own scam?

I bought a rent to own 4 years ago for a term of 15 years. There is a second person on the deed who now claims that he didn’t know the house was sold, so never got his share of what he paid for the property. He said that he will not be signing the deed when it comes to it. I had to put 25k to move in and another 40k or more

since I bought it. The way I see this is that it’s a scam to get rich quick – sell it to someone who fixes it then all of a sudden the second guy comes out of no where and says that ‘he didnt know so they can take the home back and resell for way more than it was originally worth. These people buy houses for owed taxes and sell them to make a profit.

Asked on November 29, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the first guy based on breach of contract (violating the terms of the agreement) and fraud (lying to you about what he could or would do) to recover a portion of your money from him--since you had the benefit of living there, it's fair that you pay the fair rental value. Typically, what you'd get back is the overrage--the amount over what you'd normally pay to rent a similar property due to the fact that you were not just renting, but renting to own. You could also recover from him the money you put into the home on the reasonable assumption you would end up owning it.

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