New City, NY asked in Real Estate Law for Florida

Q: Does seller have to return down payment if buyer unlawfully breached contract?

Buyer broke and entered into property prior to closing and was living in property until police removed them. The contract violation ulitmately terminated sale. Do I have to return the $10,000 down payment? The buyer drilled the door locks, moved personal belongings in and was living there. Police removed his personal property and condo secured. There is a police report and evidence that it was the buyer. No sure if buyer entitled to down payment?

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3 Lawyer Answers

A: That's impossible to answer without seeing a copy of the contract, which should have been reviewed by a lawyer before signing. You will need to consult with a lawyer now to explain the terms of the contract to you.

Jane Kim
Jane Kim
Answered
  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: You need to read your contract, of course. Typically there are standard provisions about that and you should be able to retain the deposit. You’ll probably need a lawyer to deal with the escrow agent/ title agent on how to disburse the deposit.

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
Answered
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: The fact that you write "police removed them.", and that "The contract violation ulitmately (sic) terminated sale." suggests that there was a lawsuit. Police don't usually remove people apparently in lawful possession without a court order. And someone, also apparently a judge, apparently ruled that breach of contract resulted in the buyer's right to purchase. If this is so, the court should also have ruled regarding whether the buyer has a right to return of the down payment. If not, go back to court and get that clarified.

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