Do you need to evict the seller from your new home?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | Real Estate Transactions

A real estate transaction is entirely voluntary. With the exception of eminent domain proceedings, which involve public projects, almost all real estate transactions begin with a property owner deciding to list their property for sale. Maybe they can no longer afford the home, or perhaps they want to move to a different neighborhood.

Regardless of the reason for the sale, the seller will set a price and then accept offers from buyers. Prospective buyers often negotiate certain terms, including how long the seller can remain at the property after the closing.

Typically, post-closing occupancy arrangements impose a daily fee for the seller to stay at the property. That fee serves as an incentive to get them to move out regardless of what may change after the closing occurs. Despite choosing to sell the home, the seller may eventually regret that decision and refuse to move out of the home. Will you have to evict the seller if they simply won’t leave despite it being time for you to take possession?

Eviction is rare but possible

Ideally, you and your real estate agent will have set a daily fee for possession of the property that is high enough to be inconvenient. Even if there isn’t a post-occupancy agreement on record, you may have given verbal permission to let the seller stay temporarily due to a delay in them finding a new home for themselves or some other complication.

If they refuse to leave when you desire to take occupancy and have the legal right to do so, you may eventually need to take them to court. When you take a seller to court, you can potentially enforce your purchase agreement, but sometimes you may need to evict them.

If you have to take such extreme steps, you also have to consider the possibility that they may damage the property out of spite. Filing a lawsuit for damages caused before the seller left the property may also be necessary after the eviction. The claim against the seller who won’t leave could also potentially help you get compensation from them for your expenses related to their failure to uphold the contract.

The best approach for a seller who won’t leave yet will vary depending on the terms of your purchase and multiple other factors. Discussing your situation with a real estate attorney is often key to successfully addressing a conflict related to a home purchase.