Many Arizona home buyers are surprised to find that they cannot move into their new dream home, even after signing the closing papers and paying for the house, because the seller is still there. A frequent occurrence finds the buyer ready to move in after the title company handed over the keys and confirmed that the deed was registered, but the seller is still in the process of moving out of the house.
What, if anything, can the buyer do?
Many frustrated buyers turn to the police to try to remove the former owner of the property. They will soon discover that it is a civil dispute related to the possession of the home that will require the buyer to initiate a forced retention action in Superior Court pursuant to ARS §12-1171 et seq. Although the buyer has the legal right to possession of the house at the time of registration of the deed, to remove a remaining seller who refuses to move, the buyer must notify the seller in writing 5 days in advance to move and then file the forcible withholding action. to regain possession of the property.
Of course, in the case of a seller taking an extra day or two to move out, the seller will leave before the enforcement action makes its way through the Arizona court system, leaving the buyer with no remedy for their inconvenience. . . One way to discourage such behavior on the part of an Arizona real estate seller is to include a contractual provision that requires the seller to vacate the premises prior to closing and stipulates a substantial monetary penalty if the seller fails to do so.
If you are facing a situation like the one described in this article or have any other legal issues related to real estate in Arizona, please do not hesitate to contact Harper Law PLC.