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What are my rights with my land contract?

Dayton, OH |

We are purchasing our home through land contract and this July will be five years we've owned the home. We are behind two mortgage payments, but have made a payment monthly, we are just unable to catch up. I wrote a note to the landlord to let him know that we would be able to make a double payment this month, unfortunatley an issue arised that only allowed us to make a single payment. He then sent me a letter stateing that I would have to make a complete payment of July's mortgage and the two months we are behind, otherwise he will go forward with the process of having us removed. Does he legally have the right to do that if we've been making monthly payments, but are still struggling to catch up on the two months we are behind? I live in Dayton, Ohio.

Attorney Answers 2


I agree with my colleague, yes, if you are behind you can lose your home, just like someone who is behind on their mortgage payment. There are two types of removal, essentially eviction and foreclosure. The tipping point is outlined in the statute I included below. If you have complied with the terms of the land contract for 5 years or more from the first payment OR have paid more than 20% of the purchase price the seller must foreclose to remove you, just like the mortgage lender. On the other hand if you haven't met either of those measures, you can be evicted (we know that you haven't been in for 5 years complying with the agreement because you are just in the house for 5 years now and are in arrears in your payments--the question is, how much have you paid on the principal).

I know that you are short on cash, otherwise you would bring your contract current. Having said that, you should contact an attorney. Consider contacting Legal Aid or a local law school (law schools often have legal clinics where third year law students "practice law" under the supervision of a professor. It is usually, if not always free, so a bonus for you and gives them real world experience. Good luck.

IF YOU FOUND THIS ANSWER HELPFUL PLEASE MARK IT SO. The answers provided by R. Russell O’Rourke, Attorney-at-Law as a free informational service only. Without thoroughly reviewing your case neither I nor any other attorney can give you a complete answer upon which you could or should rely. Your reading of this or any of my answers does not create an attorney client relationship between us. Legal cases are often very fact specific and need a qualified attorney to properly review ALL of your materials and fully discuss your case with you before you decide the right course of action to take. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IN PERSON who has specific expertise in the area of law you are asking about.

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We purchased the house for $55,000 our percentage is 8% and our monthly amount is $410 ( not including the land tax that we pay with it.) If I've done my calculations correctly, we have paid well over the 20% in the five years we've been there. What rights does that make us entitled to?

R. Russell O'Rourke

R. Russell O'Rourke


The primary difference is that to take the property from you, if you have paid less than the 20% or have been paying for less than 5 years, they can merely evict you like a tenant. If you have gone over that amount, they have to foreclose on the property, which is a longer, much pricier process and will possibly end up with someone else buying the property at a sheriff's sale. The court may be helpful in keeping you in the house. Also, if they have accepted late payments before, depending on your contract, they MAY have waived their right to force you to keep current now without giving you a chance. is there anyone you can borrow the money from to get him current? Is he still talking with you? I suggest that you hire a local attorney to help you NOW. You calling the owner may be met with less seriousness than a lawyer calling. You might check with the University of Dayton Law School. They have a Law Clinic where law students under the supervision of a professor help clients for free. They may have a program that could help. I don't know if there is a program over the summer, but call and see. Also, since you don't have the extra cash to hire an attorney (if you did, you would just pay the balance), try the local Legal Aid. Given your circumstances, you may qualify for free assistance. Whatever you do, don't delay or the house may just slip through your fingers.


Yes, if you are behind in your payments, the owner has the right to begin the legal process to have you removed.

I am licensed in the State of Ohio, posting a response to your question or issue does not create an attorney-client relationship and I AM NOT providing you legal advice.

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