Legal Hotline Spotlight

*Please note: Any questions regarding Legal Hotline Spotlights should be submitted via the Virginia REALTORS® Legal Hotline. Our attorneys are unable to respond to questions through our comments section.

Q: My buyer is supposed to close on a property this week, but there is a tenant still living in the home, and there is no indication that he intends to move out. The house was supposed to be vacant at closing. What is my buyer’s recourse?  

A: Under the Virginia REALTORS® contract, this is addressed in Paragraph 14. The seller agrees to transfer the property “free of all encumbrances, tenancies, and liens” at settlement. Therefore, if the tenant is still in the property at settlement, the seller could be in breach of the purchase agreement. 

The seller would need to initiate unlawful detainer proceedings against the tenant if the tenant’s lease has been terminated. For any possible legal action against the seller for this breach, your buyer should speak with an attorney. 

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