Thursday, March 02, 2006

E-Lo’s Legal Woes

I mentioned that I may have to go to court. Let me clarify: arbitration. We’re having a dispute over our old house. Let me explain.

Warning, this is probably going to be long and boring.

Back story: In July of 2003, Ryan and I lived in Clarion. I had just graduated and worked at the Walmart there, and he was working for a paving company, of course. We lived in a haunted house (a story for another day) and things were getting pretty tight. We were financially strapped. My mom invited us to move in with them until we got back on our feet, so we did.

The next four months were hellish, and by January, we were settled enough in our new jobs (I had just gotten promoted at Target) that we decided to start looking for a place to live. We knew we didn’t want to do another apartment, and we heard that a friend of Ryan’s family was selling a trailer. So we went to look at it. As trailers go, this one was pretty nice, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a nice deck, good location, and it was pretty new. The priss in me wasn’t hot on living in a trailer, but we were getting desperate. It was either live with my parents or live in our own home. So the trailer won.

Since the people we bought from were family friends of Ryan, they let us do an article of agreement to rent to own. The price we agreed on was 23,000, which seemed a little steep to me, but hey, we weren’t paying interest. Cool, right?

Here’s where the problems start. Fast forward from February of 2004 to February of 2005. Part of our agreement was to get financing and buy the trailer outright eventually. A part of the statement said that if we were denied fiancing that we’d just carry on with the rent to own agreement and try again in 6 months. So that February we tried to get financing. We called the seller to get an estimate of what we had left to pay and he guessed “around 17,000.” But we got denied, so no big deal. We’d just try harder next time.

Then we found out we were going to have a baby and decided we had to make things happen, because we knew we didn’t want to be living in a trailer. Our plan was to buy it and get it on the market ASAP. So in October, we tried for financing again. Ryan used the estimate that the seller had given us before and we got approved. Cool. So we called our friend, the seller, and told him we were approved, and could he give us an approximate amount that we needed to pay? He said sure and that he’d call us back.

He called us back later and told us the amount. Here’s where things get tricky. Pay attention.

Price we agreed on (and signed a contract on): $23,000
Price the seller told us once we got approved for financing, after living there and making monthly $250 payments : $24, 925

Here’s where me and Ryan collectively went “HUH???”

So we called him on it. What the hell are you talking about? At that point we’d been living there for 20 months.

Simple math! Even I can do it! What’s 250 times 20?

5,000, right?

What’s 23,000 MINUS 5,000?
18,000, right? So logic would tell you, that’s what we owed them.

So we knew his first estimate was just a guess, because that had been almost 6 month prior. So he hadn’t even called the bank or anything. But this! This was NOT making sense!

Mr. Lovely Seller claimed that we owed them INTEREST. After reviewing the contract that we had signed, we saw NOTHING about interest in it. So we told him that. He said that we basically agreed to take over their mortgage. Nuh-uh. He also said that they paid almost 230 bucks a month in interest. What the fuck kind of interest rate is that? Sounds pretty close to almost 100 percent if we were only paying 250 bucks a month!

Nothing was adding up, so Ryan told him that we were going to contact a lawyer to look at the contract. So we got a lawyer.

Our lawyer agreed. We don’t owe them interest. We decided to go through with the closing at the price that we owed. Our lawyer sent their lawyer a letter. The closing was going to be December 9th.

They said they weren’t coming, which breeched the contract.

Here’s how: the contract said we would try for financing. If not approved, we’d try again every 6 months until we got approved. This is what we did. We based our price on the original 23 grand that we owed. The contract specifically stated that both the buyer and the seller must be present at the closing.

On November 22, the day that I gave birth, the seller called us and threatened us with arbitration. Nice.

Ryan called our lawyer soon after and told him we wanted out. The contract was breeched. Couldn’t we just agree that we rented the place and say that’s it?

Our lawyer ran that by the seller, and he agreed. Whew!

That’s when we started looking at houses.

Then the seller changed his mind. WHAT THE FUCK! We’re buying a trailer. They are like cars. They depreciate in value. If you went to a car lot and the guy there said, “yeah, I’ll sell you this one for 500 bucks” and you went and got the money and came back and then he said, “no I meant a grand,” you’d walk away, right?

So we walked away. We moved out at the end of January. Our lawyer sent a letter saying that the seller had breeched the contract and therefore we considered any agreement with them null and void.

We gave our keys to our lawyer and the seller picked them up.

Our lawyer called us last week and told us that they were still planning on taking us to arbitration. Ryan flat out asked him if they have a case against us, and he said no way. He had 3 other lawyers look at our contract and they all agree, the selling price was clear. He said even the sellers lawyer had tried to advise them NOT to take us to arbitration, because there’s no case.

That’s when we found out it was the sellers ex-wife who is driving all this. I think she seriously thinks she’s going to make a buck off of us.

I hope she’s sorely mistaken. They’ve been dicking us around for almost 6 months now, and I’m pretty fucking sick of thinking about it.

We have yet to hear about the arbitration. I’m to the point now that I think that they’re just trying to hold the threat over our heads. They think that going to arbitration bothers us. They think that because it was in our contract that we had to pay for arbitration that we’ll just suck it up and pay them what they want us to. But guess what? There is no contract, so they’re just screwing themselves. We welcome the arbitration, because we know that the worst thing that will happen is that we’ll have to buy the trailer for the 18 grand that we actually owed them. And we’ll get that and put it right on the market, no big deal. It just means having to live in the in-law hotel for a few more months.

But this is the reason we’re holding off on buying a house. Although I don’t think we should let it stop us. We never agreed that we couldn’t live wherever we wanted, right?

So that’s my long and boring story. If you’re sleepy now, I’m sorry. But if you got this far, I applaud you.

Tomorrow is Friday!!!

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