Sale Deposit Rights?

  I bought a mobile home in NM.  I live in another state, and the mobile is not in my park. The title was signed over to me but the private seller had mistakenly also signed in the dealer’s box on the back and the MVD wouldn’t accept it to transfer the title into my name.  Although it’s taken months, the mistake has been rectified and the title is now in my name.  At the time unaware of this problem and thinking I had the title in my name, I sold the mobile home on payments.  I accepted a down payment and received 2 monthly payments.  Then nothing. Attempts at communication were futile.  Then I learned the buyer had abandoned the home, leaving it to the cold temps of northern NM unprotected and with some damage.  I have since had these repaired and the home winterized.  I sent a Notice of Termination of Sale by certified mail to the buyer and it was returned to me unopened.  I now have someone else interested in buying it. The first ‘buyer’ has now learned that I am again selling the home and says that I must return the deposit or resume the sale transaction with him.  Needless to say, I have no interest in resuming a transaction with the first buyer.  I also now have a large repair bill because of the abandonment and abuse of the property.In light of all this, is it right to keep the deposit?

Yes!  Keep the deposit.  That first ‘buyer’ abandoned the property and invalidated their agreement with you (unless you structured this as a sale and filed a mortgage - then it gets more complex).  Hopefully you did this transaction with a rent credit agreement. If the first buyer does something crazy, like tries to take you to court, you simply present the judge evidence the home was abandoned.  Hopefully you took photos of the damage, and of course the buyer will not have cancelled checks proving they made payments, and the judge should decide in your favor.  Hint: if I were you, I’d probably sue the tenant in small claims court for the damage they did, and the rent they did not pay you.  They owe you that money, and if they want to go through with the transaction to buy the home, it sounds like they may have some money to pay you what they owe.My 2 cents worth,-jl-

Your 2 cents is worth a whole lot more than that, Jefferson.  Thanks for the input!