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Land Contract Fraud

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What Are Land Contracts?

Land contracts are contracts that involve the sale of real estate or land. This is usually a contract for the sale of residential property. Land contracts are unique in that it is the seller who is agreeing to provide financing for the buyer (rather than a mortgage or other loan company).

Also called contract for deed, land installment contracts are usually paid off in monthly installments. Other factors such as interest rates and late payment penalties may be worked out between the seller and the buyer.

What Is Land Contract Fraud?

Land contract fraud occurs when one party uses misrepresentation or deceit in order to gain a profit or advantage from the contract. This can involve issues such as:

  • Misrepresenting the total value or worth of the property
  • Concealment of defects or dangerous conditions of the property
  • Providing false or inaccurate financial information
  • Misrepresentations of title or deed
  • False information regarding interest payments, payment amounts, and other details of the contract
  • Fraud leading to a breach of contract issue

Note that either party can be found liable for fraud. For instance, a common fraud situation with the seller is where they make misrepresentations regarding the property’s value. For buyers, fraud can often involve information regarding their financial background.

Are There Any Remedies for Land Contract Fraud?

Remedies for land contract fraud often depend on the violation. In many cases, fraud claims can result in a damages award for the non-liable party. This can help compensate for any losses caused by the fraud. Or, the court may require other remedies, such as a rewriting of some or all of the contract.

Land contract fraud can often be a problem because the transaction may just involve two private parties without the intervention of a professional. Since it is the seller who is providing financing, the buyer won’t be dealing with a loan provider or other similar professional.

Thus, preventing land contract fraud may often require the assistance of a lawyer. Both parties can benefit if they are represented by lawyers during the process. This can help prevent fraud from occurring in the first place.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Land Contract Fraud Issues?

Contract and real estate fraud laws can often result in strict legal consequences. You may wish to hire a real estate lawyer in your area if you need help with a land contract. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice, guidance, and research for any issue you might have. Also, if you encounter any problems with land contract fraud, your lawyer can provide you with representation during a lawsuit.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 09-08-2014 10:40 AM PDT

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