My property was listed through a company's website what specializes in Rent-to-Own. A buyer decides to rent-to-own my property. After 4 months my tenant/buyer decides to sue me for fraud, after he was evicted for not paying the required monthly rent. He claimed that he stopped paying rent because the rent to own contract was a scam. Now, he is suing me for $20,000 (and not the company). I was not the one who generated the contract and I've never met my tenant/buyer until the day after he signed the contract through the company that listed my property. The buyer claimed that he gave me $5k down payment. The only money I received from the buyer was the 1st month's rent and one months worth of deposit. The rest went to the company, and the buyer know this. Am I liable for anything anything?
At the outset, I'm not an OH lawyer, and there may be local statutes, but answering this question based on general principles of law here's my read.
You hired a company to do this rent to own thing. That makes them your agent. If your agent committed fraud, and you did not know of, authorize, direct or ratify this, then you're probably shielded from liability on fraud counts if there was fraud.
On the other hand, there may be liability for breach of contract, negligent supervision, and possibly unfair trade practices.
If your agent got you into trouble, you'd also have a lawsuit against the agent. If they're under the jurisdiction of that court, you can implead them into the case, if your lawyer thinks that's advisable.
This sounds like something you should take to a lawyer. It's messy.
**Disclaimer: Charles F. Basil is licensed in CT only. Any opinion given is based upon the general principles of law, but local laws may vary. This opinion is given for informational purposes only, and no attorney client relationship has been formed. Opinions on a website can not and should not supplant the advice of an attorney presented with all of the facts in your jurisdiction.**
You certainly might be. Real estate and rent to own, sometimes called lease to own, can be a real mess and that is certainly where you are. All the contract paperwork needs to be read through by an experienced real estate attorney or contract law attorney. If you hire someone to do work for you, or set up deals like this for you, you could be liable for their misrepresentations if you ratified the contract they made with the buyer or if you knew or should have known they were committing fraud on the buyer. The fact that you didn't get all the money? Well, that doesn't matter here. You really need to talk to a Fraud Law attorney near you right away. There is enough money at stake to make it worth your while to talk to an experienced attorney about your situation and what your legal rights and obligations are. The only way an attorney can really figure out how to help you, and what your rights are, is to go over all the paperwork and listen to your entire story. Contract Law is a little different in each state. You need to talk to a local attorney who deals with Contract Law issues. You can look for one here on Avvo under the Find a Lawyer tab. Or you can call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to a Contract Law attorney near you. But act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a case in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to an attorney and finding out what your rights are. If this answer was helpful, please give a “Vote Up” review below. Thanks for asking and good luck. Ron Burdge, www.BurdgeLaw.com
For a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers, click here
Click here for a list of state and local attorney bar associations
Prefer to talk to a woman attorney? Click here for a list of state and local women attorney’s bar associations
What are attorney bar associations and how do they work? Get Wikipedia’s answer here
This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The law in your state may differ and your best answer will always come from a local attorney that you meet with privately. If you need a Consumer Law attorney, click the link above to find a Consumer Law attorney near you.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline