Can I Be Sued???

10 Replies

Hello community!  Looking for some feed back, Thanks!

I sold a mobile home to someone Jan 1 (4.5 months ago) on terms.  She paid jan feb, march, and april.  However, there was no may payment.  She said she is moving out due to traces of mold she found.  She entered this agreement AS IS, but I still had a contractor come in and remove the area where there was mold and put in new framing and board. 

I heard around the mhp that she is taking me to court, did I do something incorrectly here?  I asked my lawyer and she said it sounds like she is trying to get out of her agreement.  Id love feed back, thanks in advance!

Asking here is a great place to start. I would say that you may need to consult a Lawyer on your end. Sounds to me like she's using you and your rental, as her own investment strategy to line her own pocket.

Sounds like something changed for her and she's looking for an excuse, maybe some buyers' remorse?  I would believe it when I see it on the law suit.  You already have an attorney, I'll bet she doesn't.

Hindsight is always 20/20. So, what should have happened isn't relevant now. You seem to know your position and what to do about it: have a good attorney to represent you and help you make your case.

The question is not "Can I be sued?", the question is "When will I be sued?"

The point is to make yourself as unattractive as possible as a potential target of a lawsuit. "Control everything, own nothing." If you look like you have no assets to take on paper the chances of an attorney taking such a case are much lower than if it looks like you own income property in your own name (ALWAYS a bad idea!) instead of in a properly structured business entity.

So, deal with this one the best you can, then position yourself for asset protection. Refer to a competent professional to help you do that - DON'T try to do-it-yourself thru LegalZoom or anything like that - the only thing that will be "zooming" is money out of your wallet / bank account(s).

Can you be sued? Of course you can.

When will you be sued? When you look like a ripe target for a lawsuit (lots of assets / income property in your own name).

You can't just be sued. The plaintiff needs a cause of action such as negligence, breach of contract, fraud etc.

I have a great friend that is an applicants attorney. The criteria for taking a case involves somebody actually being injured and the other party having something worth going after. The presence of mold is not enough for most attorneys to care. You "can" be sued for anything but it seems unlikely an attorney would take this case.

It's my opinion you need to start foreclosure on her for nonpayment.  It looks to me like she's trying to set up a case for herself where she can get back her deposit, etc., due to the mold.  I don't think she'd have a leg to stand on.  For one, she accepted the place "as is," and secondly, she'd have to prove this mold was toxic, etc., which is very unlikely.

So, if I was you, I'd get my lawyer to start the foreclosure process.  I'm assuming you are seller financing?

You both entered into the contract with the clear understanding that the unit was as is. She had been living their for several months before she even brought up the issue of mold, but you both stilled agreed to terms AS-IS. 

That would be like me selling you my house and you get the loan to pay me but then contact me months later to complain about mold even though the home was listed AS-IS. I feel you should not stress about it, as long as everything is in writing.

Originally posted by @Justin Escajeda :

Hello community!  Looking for some feed back, Thanks!

I sold a mobile home to someone Jan 1 (4.5 months ago) on terms.  She paid jan feb, march, and april.  However, there was no may payment.  She said she is moving out due to traces of mold she found.  She entered this agreement AS IS, but I still had a contractor come in and remove the area where there was mold and put in new framing and board. 

I heard around the mhp that she is taking me to court, did I do something incorrectly here?  I asked my lawyer and she said it sounds like she is trying to get out of her agreement.  Id love feed back, thanks in advance!

 The short answer is Yes. With all of the "free" or nearly free attorneys available today to low income people, landlords get sued all the time, even when it isn't justified.

The longer answer is you have a potentially major problem over the mold, because you probably didn't have her sign a mold waiver which is a very specific document right down to the size, density, and font selection.

You likely also are not a properly licensed lender with a compliance management system in place. She can also sue on that basis alone. You can also be turned in by her to the CFPB, your state's AG, and your state's regulator of mortgage lending not to mention the FTC, FinCEN, and DOJ. (This applies to chattel lending in most states. In the states where it does not, like Texas as an example, there is still a state regulator of chattel lending.) 

All of this may or may not happen depending on the attorney representing her. But, the potential is there. The cheapest way out of this may be giving her the home if she signs off on the proper hold harmless.

You need a very good attorney on this. If your operation is too small to run a legal lending operation - STOP Lending.

Originally posted by @Joe Bertolino :

I have a great friend that is an applicants attorney. The criteria for taking a case involves somebody actually being injured and the other party having something worth going after. The presence of mold is not enough for most attorneys to care. You "can" be sued for anything but it seems unlikely an attorney would take this case.

 Joe B - I get what you are saying, but there are a lot of public service attorneys, and a considerable number of starving attorneys.

If I were a starving attorney who knew what violations existed and the potential fines and penalties the seller/lender could face, I would pressure him/her to give the home to my client just to get out from under. I would then take my client to a loan company who would loan 1/3d of the appraised value so my client could give me that money. If my hourly fee was $250 per hour (In this example I'm a cheap attorney remember) I would get $3,000.00 on a $10,000 home, for what would be about four hours of actual work, which would be three times my hourly rate. Why, assuming I really was a starving attorney, would I not do that?

Disclaimer: I am neither an attorney nor starving. While our firm retains attorneys, we are not a law firm and do not represent ourselves as such. We do not give legal advice, only advice based on practical experience.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

You can't just be sued. The plaintiff needs a cause of action such as negligence, breach of contract, fraud etc.

If they don't have cause, they'll fabricate it if you look like you have some monetary value they can go after.