Many Arizona home purchasers are surprised to find that they are unable to move into their new dream home, even after signing closing documents and paying for the home, because the seller is still there. A frequent occurrence finds the buyer ready to move in after the title company has delivered the keys and confirmed the deed has recorded, but the seller still in the process of moving out of the home.
What, if anything, can the buyer do?
Many frustrated buyers turn to the police in an attempt to remove the former owner from the property. They will soon discover that this is a civil dispute related to possession of the home that will require the buyer to initiate a forcible detainer action in Superior Court pursuant to A.R.S. §12-1171 et seq. Although the buyer is legally entitled to possession of the home upon the recording of the deed, to remove a holdover seller who refuses to move out, the buyer must furnish 5 days written notice to the seller to move out and then file the forcible detainer action to regain possession of the property.
Of course, in the case of a seller who takes an extra day or two to move out, the seller will be gone before the forcible detainer action works its way through the Arizona court system, leaving the buyer with no remedy for his/her inconvenience. One way to discourage such behavior by a seller of Arizona real estate is to include a contractual provision requiring the seller to vacate the premises before closing and providing for a substantial monetary penalty if the seller fails to do so.
If you are faced with a situation such as that described in this article or have any other Arizona real estate-related legal problem, don’t hesitate to contact Harper Law PLC.