Can a person rent out their house when it is in contract for purchase?

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Can a person rent out their house when it is in contract for purchase?

My husband and I are in contract to purchase a home in Maine with the contingency that our home sell first. I just found out that they are renting the home out. Is this legal? I’m a little worried about damage done to the home from renters. Can I get out of the contract and have my earnest money returned without any penalties?Thank you.

Asked on May 26, 2009 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

S.J.H., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unless the contract of sale states that the house must stay vacant until closing, This is completely appropriate by the Sellers. Any contract of sale provides that the premises be vacant and broom clean at the time of the closing of the transaction and in the condition that it was in at the time of the contract unless specific repairs were required to be made by the Sellers.

Therefore, until such time as the closing takes place, the Sellers can do with the house as they wish. Once the closing date is set, you will have a right to inspect the premises prior to closing to ensure that the tenants are out and the consition of the premises is as you saw when contracted to.

If at the time of the closing, the tenants still remain or if damages exist, then your remedies may be to reduce the price to account of these issues or possibly, depending on Maine Law, back out of the deal.


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