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What happens to a deposit set forth in a legal agreement of a lease to buy option when the potential buyer breaks the contract ?

Binghamton, NY |

We the sellers had a legal agreement signed, witnessed and notarized with the buyers to lease for two years and then purchase our home. The buyers put forth $10,000.00 which is to be used for the purchasing of our home and is in a separate account with interest. The buyers broke the contract and left the home for no apparent or given reason or loss of job. Legally can we keep some of that deposit to put forth on the rent that is unpaid and any damages within the home?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. It depends on what the agreement says in the event of breach. You should bring the agreement, proof of payments, etc., (and take pictures of the house for any damage) to a consultation with an attorney whose practice focuses on real estate law. Find out about your rights before they make any demands for their money back. Or, practically speaking, don't do any of that until you receive some sort of demand.

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  2. That depends onwhat the agreement says about the deposit. Many times these types of agreements state that if the buyer breaches the agreement they forfeit the down payment. Have an attorney review the agreement to determine what is supposed to happen to that down payment and what other remedies you might have.

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  3. Hi there--take your agreement and other documentation to a local attorney for review and advice. Unfortunately, it is impossible and imprudent to give specific advice regarding your agreement on this forum. Avvo has many capable attorneys to assist you, just use the Find a Lawyer feature. Best of luck.

    Answer given for general advice and is not a legal opinion, which would require an analysis of the facts and circumstances as well as the applicable law and regulations.

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