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What can you do if the seller of a home won’t vacate?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2022 | Real Estate Law |

Moving day has come and gone, and the prior owner of your new home is still sitting there with barely a box of their belongings packed. 

What now? You can’t very well toss the other party and everything they own out into the street since that would be an illegal eviction. By the same token, you can’t just wait around forever and hope they’ll finally vacate the property so you can move in. 

Here’s where you start: 

1. Call your agent

Your real estate agent can call the seller’s agent and see if they can get to the root of the problem and get the situation under control. 

If the seller isn’t merely dragging their heels, they may have encountered some sort of unavoidable difficulty, like a sudden illness in the family that’s causing the delay. If so, they may be able to commit to a new moving date and agree to pay you a daily fee for overstaying. 

This is called a “rent-back.” It compensates you for your inconvenience and serves as an incentive for the seller to get in gear. You do, however, need to make sure that you get this agreement in writing in the form of a day-to-day lease or contract. 

2. File for eviction 

If the seller is just being recalcitrant, you can start with a demand letter that asks them to vacate. These are surprisingly effective, probably because the threat of legal action can get a seller’s attention a lot faster than a polite request. 

If that fails, however, it’s time for an eviction. While unpleasant, judges definitely have sympathy for the plaintiffs who are forced to bring unlawful detainer suits in these situations. Once your eviction is granted, you will have a court order that can be delivered to the former owner. That will give them a limited amount of time before they’re forcibly removed.