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Real estate Q&A: Does seller have recourse if buyer is rejected?

This news story was published on December 5, 2012.
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By Gary M. Singer, Sun Sentinel –

QUESTION: I am trying to sell my condominium, and I just found out the association didn’t approve the buyer. Is there anything I can do?


ANSWER: Yes. But in most of these instances, the buyer and seller just move on, aggravated.

In your condo, the “Declaration” and other key documents contain the rules under which you and your neighbors must live by. These documents must address whether the board has the power to approve prospective buyers and tenants.

You may find that although the board has been approving buyers for years, it doesn’t actually have the power and is only doing it “because this is the way we have always done things.” If that’s the case, consider having a lawyer write a sternly worded letter to the board. That may be all it takes.

Even if your association has the power to approve the buyer, its decisions must be applied consistently and for good reason. The board can’t deny a buyer for such things as race, religion and ethnicity. If it does, that certainly is grounds for a lawsuit.

Absent something egregious, most sellers decide it’s not worth the time and expense to file suit. It’s just easier to find another buyer. And not many buyers will want to fight the denial because they don’t feel comfortable living in a community that doesn’t want them.

The board may not be required to reveal the reason for denial. But try to find out why — and that will help you in your search for a new buyer.

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