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Can I get my deposit back? The seller refused to release my deposit and I have not removed any contigency

Walnut, CA |

The contract was accepted on March 29th 2012. I did the inspection on Apr 10th,2012 and made the request of reparis on Apr 12th, 2012. The seller does not agree to any of the repairs and will not give back any credit. The listing agent is my buyer's agent. I have 17 days of contigency period, which expires on April 15th( I never removed the contigency by writing or verbally). I sent the request to cancel escrow on Apr 16th,2012 to the agent by email. I did not receive any response from the agent for 3 days. On April 19th, I received email from the agent saying that the seller removed the SPA in the back yard. I sent another 14 emails to request for cancellation and never received any instruction from the agent. The seller did not agree to cancel the escrow. Can I get my deposit back?

Attorney Answers 3


No one can really tell you your rights and obligations under a contract without being able to read and review it in detail. Having said that, it certainly sounds like you should be entitled to your deposit back, under the facts you describe. I would suggest two things: 1) document EVERYTHING you do. You want to send a written letter, in addition to the emails. The postal service is deemed to be reliable. Email servers are not the same. 2) If they do not agree with your position, then you are going to need to meet with a lawyer to review your contract and determine what your best move is, going forward.

James Frederick

I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.

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It is very difficult to accurately conclude whether you would be entitled to a refund of your initial deposit without having reviewed your purchase contract, transfer disclosure statement, request for repairs, and other transaction documents.

It is not clear what repairs you requested, and what such repairs would entail.

The weakness in your position is that you apparently tried to cancel the transaction AFTER the contingency period expired.

Moreover, your situation is a bit more complicated because you have a dual agent representing both the seller side and the buyer side.

If your purchase contract used the California Association of Realtors (CAR) form, there is a provision in it which requires you to demand mediation before you can arbitrate or litigate in order to entitle you to recover attorney's fees.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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Please carefully review the terms of your contract to see what happens in these circumstances, and follow those terms.

The contract may say that you or seller may expressly cancel the contract under these circumstances.

If the contract has been properly cancelled as provided in the contract, you may need to file suit to get your deposit returned.

George Wolff


This is NOT legal advice, just a general discussion of the law, as we are not familiar with the specific documents and facts of your case, etc. Please consult with a competent attorney in this area of the law for specific legal advice regarding your particular case, as the advice may vary depending on the facts.

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