What can we do if our seller is backing out of our contract?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can we do if our seller is backing out of our contract?

A developer signed a Letter Of Intent, agreeing on price and everything else. The contract was drawn up and awaiting their signature. During that time, approximately 45 days later, they stated that they didn’t want our property after all, citing a meanial reason. Approximately 1 month later we have found out that they went to the City with a development map of our property, which we now have a copy of, asking for the property to be zoned high density for the proposed housing project they showed. The City denied their request, hence they didn’t sign the contract and used some other reason not to sign it; they never told us they were going to the City. I believe our realtors were aware of this happening, but am still trying to find the proof of that. Do we have any recourse? They were already doing thier due diligence.

Asked on May 4, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Only if the Letter of Intent was itself a contract would you have recourse--since you state that the actual contract was never signed, any rights you would have would have to arise under the LOI. It could be a contract in an of itself if it had enough of the material, or important, terms of the agreement so as to qualify as being an actual contract (a contract must define all the important terms, so the parties can be said to be in agreemen as to them) and IF there was no language in it specifically stating that it was not binding (such language is enforceable if it exists). So review the LOI to see if it would hold the buyer liable; if in doubt, bring it to an attorney to review with you.

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