Need help in understanding wording in California residential purchase agreement

Asked by Lt2e, California Sat Jan 12, 2013

"Tenant-occupied property: (i) Property shall be vacant at least 5 (or_____) Days prior to Close of Escrow, unless otherwise agreed in writing. Note to Seller: If you are unable to deliver Property vacant in accordance with rent control and other applicable Law, you may be in breach of this Agreement."
Does this mean the buyer can still cancel the contract and get deposit money back?

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Marge Bennett’s answer
Marge Bennett, Agent, Fort Myers, FL
Sat Jan 12, 2013
It is your Realtor's job to explain the contract. if he can't, ask the broker of the company. I don't read it that the buyer can cancel, unless of course, the seller does not comply with the contract. But I am NOT a California agent.
1 vote
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2013
Hi Lt2e,

First, you should refer this question to your Agent because there may be other facts you have not shared that are material to your question.

In any case, generally speaking, the Buyer could send the Seller a Notice to Perform regarding the Tenant situation. Once the time period provided in the NTP ends the Buyer could then subsequently submit a Cancellation to Escrow.

Additionally, Para 14F of the CAR RPA states, "If Buyer or Seller gives written notice of cancellation ….A Buyer or Seller may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for refusal to sign such instructions if no good faith dispute exists as to who is entitled to the deposited funds (Civil Code §1057.3)."

Civil Code §1057.3 says the Seller must release the deposit within 30 days.

1 vote
Jane Peters, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2013
Your agent can answer this question. Presumably you are using one since you have a copy of a purchase agreement which only a licensed real estate agent can use?
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1 vote
Douglas Lagos, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Jan 14, 2013

Agents answering your contract question, without having knowledge of what the contract stipulates, is not in your best interest.

You need to talk to your real estate agent and/or broker for information regarding your offer or contract.
If you already signed a buyer's or seller's exclusive representation, and/or purchase contract, and your agent and/or broker do not know the answer, please get legal advice.

If you have NOT signed a purchase contract, with your agent/broker, and do not feel that they are experienced or knowledgeable, you have the option to interview other agents.

Douglas Lagos
Realtor®, Certified HAFA Specialist (CHS)
DRE# 01921046
Coldwell Banker Residential
Tel. (310) 463-8088
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sun Jan 13, 2013
One of our "jobs" as Realtors is to understand the Purchase Agreement. I would advise you to interview and retain a Realtor, in your own best interest.
0 votes
carlos parra…, Other Pro, Monrovia, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2013
There is additional language in the contract that is applicable before you can cancel and get your deposit back. For example a "Notice to Perform" is necessary which gives the Seller additional time. There are other provisions of the contract you also need to check. Isn't your Agent able to explain this to you?
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2013
I strongly agree with the others. You should have your own agent, plain and simple. Generally speaking, you can only get your deposit back within the first 17 days, or if the seller defaults on the contract.

If you are trying to work with the contract without a Realtor or attorney, you are doing yourself a disservice.
0 votes
Douglas Perez, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2013
Yes, you could cancel and get your deposit back based on this specific condition. Your agent should know the procedure to cancel it.

Good luck!
0 votes
SERGEY FEDNOV…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2013
I agree with many answers below, it is best to have your agent go over the terms of the purchase agreement in details with you.

If you don't have an agent - please contact me !

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Should you have any questions - please feel free to call me Toll Free: 1-855-TRUST-55 (1-855-878-7855)  ext. 777. 

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0 votes
Sona Gallatin, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2013
This is why you have a buyers agent, talk to that person who should have gone over the entire contract with you! If that person does not know, then go to the office Broker.

Good luck!
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2013
As pointed out below, you should be talking to your agent. And if your agent can't explain, talk to his/her broker.

That said, if you are asking if the buyer can cancel the contract if not delivered vacant per the contract and get your money back, the answer is you should be able to. However, keep in mind that the seller has to sign cancellation papers in order to get money back so if they don't you would have to refer to the dispute resolution portion of your contract.
0 votes
Sang and Son…, Agent, Los Angeles CA 90069, CA
Sat Jan 12, 2013
You would give "Notice to Perform" which gives default of 48 hours (unless otherwise specified in the contract) to have the property be vacant. If there is no response or action taken to your notice then you can cancel escrow. The seller still needs to sign off on the cancellation before your deposit is released.
0 votes
Phil Rotondo, Agent, Melbourne, FL
Sat Jan 12, 2013
You should take the purchase agreement in full and consult an attorney with all your questions.
0 votes
Lt2e, Home Buyer, California
Sat Jan 12, 2013
^ Ah Sorry...will clarify the question : So, if the property is still tenant occupied and it's 5 days prior to close of escrow... does that mean in California, the seller is in breach of contract and buyer can still cancel and get deposit money back....
0 votes
Ask your agent, and yes if you read your contract it states tenant occupied shall be delivered vacant 5 days before close of escrow unless you agreed to something different. Do you want this house? Then charge the seller rent back for as many days they still remain on the property. If you're trying to get out of this deal then yes you would be able to cancel.
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