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Can the seller with hold the remaining amount of the Good Faith money in Escrow?

Tracy, CA |

I decided to rent the house I wanted to purchase while it was in Escrow. I paid two months in rent. After deciding not to purchase the home, the seller decided to play landlord and will not release the remaining funds in Escrow until her demands are met. One was vacating the property by the 31st of October. Done. The other was paying the remaining balance of the electric/utilities in which I wrote her a check. Done. Now, she's saying that the house is not clean to her liking and the yard is not to her standards. We've been back twice to correct her wants and still, she will not sign the release of the good faith funds which pertains to the sale of the home, not as a deposit for renting.

She wants her house in better condition then when I got it. The carpets were filthy, blinds broken, back yard full of weeds. I have pictures of those. She's saying that the house was spotless and that I did not maintain the back yard. Well, I did. I got it with weeds and she got it back with weeds! I was planning on having a pool put in so the weeds didn't bother me. After a few days in the home, I noticed things that the sellers did not disclose in the contract. Plumbing needed to get done, the A/C did not work and at the time we were in triple degree weather. Rat carcasses were found on the side yard where they had a tool shed in which they removed. They also left a ton of garbage and trash along side the home and didn't want to remove it until the home was sold. I had to get rid of the majority of that trash.

Attorney Answers 1


  1. Sounds like by "after deciding not to purchase" you may have attempted to cancel escrow based on whatever provision of the purchase and sales contract, assuming there was one. And also depending on basis you used to cancel, again based on the underlying contract, you may or may not be entitled to receive your deposit. ( not clear from facts).

    Your tenancy and it's termination usually not linked to the purchase and sales contract.

    You should hire and consult with a real estate attorney in your area to review the purchase and sales contract for various provisions and conditions and write a demand letter on your behalf for the return of your deposit.

    Good luck to you.

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