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Can the buyer of my house that is for sale refuse to wire money and close and force me to sign a release of liability?

Irvine, CA |

There were 2 trees in our yard that caused slight damage to our neighbors roof . We removed the trees and repaired the roof and paid for it in full . . The buyer refuses to close Escrow unless we sign a release that says we will be liable for any damage that was caused to the neighbors for our trees while we lived there . Can she legally hold up Escrow for this reason ?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. I would contact a real estate attorney in Irvine if I were you. If I understood what you said, you indicated that what the buyer now wants in writing has already been done. Looks like an attempt to stall and then to ask for her down payment back. Good luck.

    Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  2. I am not a CA attorney, laws vary from state to state, therefore you should always consult a local attorney.

    Your buyer is required to follow the contract of sale. I'd wager there is nothing in the contract of sale that would permit them to make this demand. You could make a time of the essence closing to force them to close.

    Having said that, if you have already made the repairs and removed the trees, what is the downside to signing a release? Your buyer would not be responsible for any event that occurred prior to his or her purchase of the home. Liability is premised upon when the damage occurred - not when it was discovered. Thus, the buyer would not be liable for after discovered damage anyway. You are not really giving anything up.

    You should consult with a local real estate attorney.

    If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.


  3. It depends on the purchase and sale agreement, the escrow instructions, all the facts involving the issue with the neighbors and other matters that you should discuss with a local real estate attorney.
    Ask the neighbors to sign a release. That should satisfy the buyer.
    Even so, you would want an attorney to prepare any release and review the documents before signing anything.