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Old 09-30-2019, 10:43 AM
 
23 posts, read 14,526 times
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I signed a contract (off market) with my neighbor to sell my co-op to him. However, it’s been almost 6 months and he has not even gotten board approval yet. I asked my lawyer to return the deposit check to him to break the deal but the buyer would not accept the check, claims he’s trying to get approval. But I have checked multiple times with the management office, he still has not submitted a completed application. And it’s been almost 2 months since they heard from him.


I’ve tried to contact him via calls and text, but he’s either not picking up or says “he’s trying.” I never hear anything from him.


My lawyer says I need to take him to court to get a court order to break the contract. Apparently there’s no expiration date on a purchase agreement… I don't want to go to court but the neighbor is keeping me in limbo, not doing anything to buy it and not letting me sell it to someone else.



Anyone have any good lawyers to suggest? My lawyer doesn’t want to handle it. He is charging me a flat fee for the contract and closing, and he doesn’t want to get involved in the litigation.
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Old 09-30-2019, 02:49 PM
 
1,213 posts, read 1,189,075 times
Reputation: 1031
Does your contract not have a clause regarding board approval and timing, after which the contract is voided automatically?

When I was trying to buy in Queens, my contract was a boilerplate that essentially stated that closing would occur on or around 60 business days from contract signing, if board approval had not been granted in that time, then an automatic extension of 30 business days would be implemented. If the add'l 30 days went by with no approval, then either party could cancel the contract.

That board/management company was taking their sweet time and hadn't reached out to even schedule the board interview, never mind render a decision, so I was able to back out of the contract and get my full deposit back.

If your contract is similar, then you don't need to litigate or get a court order, your lawyer would just return the deposit with a letter stating that as per section x.xx of the contract, it is being cancelled due to lack of board approval.
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Old 09-30-2019, 03:58 PM
 
9,811 posts, read 9,535,269 times
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I'll preface this by saying I know nothing about this, but I'm just trying to marshal a smattering of information, plus logic.

1. I think I've heard of something like this, and my impression was that there is a way to break the contract.

2. No matter what, dump your lawyer. If he doesn't want to litigate, okay, but it's a bad sign if he's too lazy to collect some recommendations of other lawyers for you.

3. You've mentioned texts (bad idea) and calls. But you haven't mentioned letters. I would have had my lawyer write him a stern letter on official-looking letterhead, telling him that either he submits the package by such-and-such a date, or the contract will be voided. I'm guessing that even if you can't actually void a contract so easily, your buyer won't know that. And send it by certified mail to his workplace.

4. See if you can get some free legal advice (like, whether you really need to go to court) from the free monthly legal clinic at the bar association.
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Old 09-30-2019, 04:17 PM
 
21,843 posts, read 14,529,719 times
Reputation: 15377
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueskies888 View Post
I signed a contract (off market) with my neighbor to sell my co-op to him. However, it’s been almost 6 months and he has not even gotten board approval yet. I asked my lawyer to return the deposit check to him to break the deal but the buyer would not accept the check, claims he’s trying to get approval. But I have checked multiple times with the management office, he still has not submitted a completed application. And it’s been almost 2 months since they heard from him.


I’ve tried to contact him via calls and text, but he’s either not picking up or says “he’s trying.” I never hear anything from him.


My lawyer says I need to take him to court to get a court order to break the contract. Apparently there’s no expiration date on a purchase agreement… I don't want to go to court but the neighbor is keeping me in limbo, not doing anything to buy it and not letting me sell it to someone else.



Anyone have any good lawyers to suggest? My lawyer doesn’t want to handle it. He is charging me a flat fee for the contract and closing, and he doesn’t want to get involved in the litigation.
Your attorney is correct, you cannot unilaterally break a legally binding contract. Only way to do so is if both parties agree, otherwise yes, the matter must be settled in court.

Way around this is to have some sort of "time is of the essence" clause or clauses inserted into contract *before* it is signed. Something that states unless buyer completes transaction by "X" date or within a specified period of time he will forfeit a portion or all of any deposit. Such clauses also can state seller and or buyer can walk away from deal (cancel contract) if above does not occur (completed transaction by certain date and or whatever).

Selling/buying a co-op can be a lengthy and also uncertain process. Neither party has control over building's co-op board and that means both are at mercy of that body's actions.


https://streeteasy.com/talk/discussi...this-situation


https://www.katzmatz.net/lawyer/Your...ct-_cp7804.htm

In case of co-ops and condos there is usually a standard boilerplate clause in contracts which reads:

“…If the Corporation has not made a decision on or before the Scheduled Closing Date, the Closing shall be adjourned for 30 business days for the purpose of obtaining such consent. If such consent is not given by such adjourned date, either Party may cancel this Contract by Notice, provided that the Corporation’s consent is not issued before such Notice of cancellation is given…”

Coop and Condo - Question - Coop and Condo

Since your buyer hasn't submitted his package/application for formal consideration by board, don't believe above applies to yourself.
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Old 09-30-2019, 04:32 PM
 
1,213 posts, read 1,189,075 times
Reputation: 1031
Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post
Your attorney is correct, you cannot unilaterally break a legally binding contract. Only way to do so is if both parties agree, otherwise yes, the matter must be settled in court.

Way around this is to have some sort of "time is of the essence" clause or clauses inserted into contract *before* it is signed. Something that states unless buyer completes transaction by "X" date or within a specified period of time he will forfeit a portion or all of any deposit. Such clauses also can state seller and or buyer can walk away from deal (cancel contract) if above does not occur (completed transaction by certain date and or whatever).

Selling/buying a co-op can be a lengthy and also uncertain process. Neither party has control over building's co-op board and that means both are at mercy of that body's actions.


https://streeteasy.com/talk/discussi...this-situation


https://www.katzmatz.net/lawyer/Your...ct-_cp7804.htm

In case of co-ops and condos there is usually a standard boilerplate clause in contracts which reads:

“…If the Corporation has not made a decision on or before the Scheduled Closing Date, the Closing shall be adjourned for 30 business days for the purpose of obtaining such consent. If such consent is not given by such adjourned date, either Party may cancel this Contract by Notice, provided that the Corporation’s consent is not issued before such Notice of cancellation is given…”

Coop and Condo - Question - Coop and Condo

Since your buyer hasn't submitted his package/application for formal consideration by board, don't believe above applies to yourself.
The above is the clause I mentioned. There's also another that basically states that the buyer needs to make a good faith attempt to submit for board approval. Not submitting for 6 months, in my not a lawyer mind, constitutes a lack of good faith effort on the part of the buyer.

You need to re-read your contract and look for anything that stands out to you as a possible provision that has not been met. That's honestly what I did when I wanted out. I didn't remember that clause from my initial review, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the 30 day adjournment was up the week after. It worked out well for me, and 3 months after that contract was voided, I was able to close on something else. Once I found that clause, I called my attorney to ask him to interpret it....he agreed with me and the morning of the day we were able to cancel, we did so.
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Old 09-30-2019, 05:14 PM
 
2,823 posts, read 2,149,201 times
Reputation: 2789
I just read up to the point where you said no expiration date on contract, and that’s the worst thing a lawyer could have done in a contract. In part, I don’t think the lawyer you hire knows what he or she is doing.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:40 PM
 
9,811 posts, read 9,535,269 times
Reputation: 12449
I just found the names of two lawyers in my files: Jeff Platte and Ryan Miller. Please note that I haven't used them, and don't know if they're right for your situation, but they were recommended to me by people I respect, and you can call and inquire.
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Old Today, 02:11 PM
 
23 posts, read 14,526 times
Reputation: 25
Thank you.

I hired another lawyer. Hope I can get out of this limbo quickly.
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Old Today, 02:17 PM
 
Location: NY
4,589 posts, read 1,213,392 times
Reputation: 2666
Opinion: I can not imagine how you must feel..................

Hope this gets expedited quickly and legally unlike a scene from the video below.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sl9aWu1fZ8
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