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Bound From The Beyond

18886_1022690099NEWS FLASH:  You can’t even rest in peace in High Rise Society.  At least that’s what the state’s appellate court just said – sort of – affirming a decision of the judges below.

After the unlucky buyer had submitted her application for a two million dollar plus Park Avenue apartment and been approved by the board, but before closing, she dropped dead from a stroke.  Maybe the stress from the interview was too much.  When her heirs asked for return of the $230,000 deposit, the seller said, not on your life.  But she’s dead, the heirs bemoaned.  That doesn’t matter, the court agreed with the seller.

Maybe it’s unexpected, but the decision isn’t as crazy as it seems.  Tucked away in the standard form contract for sale of co-ops is a provision that not only binds the buyer, but also the buyer’s ”heirs, personal and legal representatives and successors in interest.”  It’s not something anyone ever pays any attention to because who goes to the trouble of buying an apartment figuring they’ll be stone cold before they move in. But it’s there.  And now maybe more would-be buyers will take note so as not to cause their family members trouble from the beyond.

 But the very purpose of the contract is frustrated, her heirs argued, because she was buying the apartment solely as her own residence, and she can’t reside in it now that she’s in the grave.

Doesn’t matter, those cold-hearted judges weren’t moved.  And since the heirs were bound, they had to submit a new application and get approved by the board.  Only instead of doing what they were supposed to do, they demanded the deposit back, thereby breaching the very contract they were bound to fulfill, and entitling the seller to keep the money.

Thanks to the heirs’ ill-advised action, the tougher question was never reached:  Would they have gotten the deposit back had they submitted the application, but been rejected by the board?

So here’s my suggestion.  Either get a physical before you sign on the dotted line to buy an apartment or ask your lawyer to change the fatal provision in the contract.

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2 Responses to “Bound From The Beyond”

  1. Anxious Buyer says:

    Thanks for the tip. I’m in the process of buying an apartment and never would have thought in a million years that my kids might have to go through with the purchase if I get hit by a bus.

  2. Alive and Kicking says:

    Thanks for the post! I’m going to go on the treadmill an hour a day so I’m in tip top shape before I even think of buying an apartment. Given my current weight, I hope prices stay low a while longer!

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