WHO IS THE KEEPER OF THE KEY?...A Deal Closes And No One Has The Key!
I have a client who is selling his home; he bought the house with a tenant in place and then decided the house was too small for his family--so he wants to sell it.
There are some real issues, one of which is: No one bothered to give him the keys at the closing when he bought the new home!
I have asked myself "what would I do if I bought a house and no one gave me the keys at the closing??"---No one, not the real estate agent, not the original owner and not even the lawyer he hired to handle the deal for him, thought of giving the key to him.
Not only that, how did he close without asking for the key?
It ony came to light when I asked him for the key so I could show the house for sale...sorry, no key!
I am in amazement that something so primary as a key to a new house is not even discussed at the closing--or at any point for that matter......
It now appears that the only person with a key is the tenant. She rented the brand new house as a year round tenant during the original ownership and there was a key pad built right in the door handle.
The tenant was a Nervous Nelly and did not want to have a key pad as a way to enter the house--it did not seem too safe to her. So, she had a locksmith come, disable the keypad and install a new lock! All without the permission of the then homeowner!
Now there is a buyer for the house from the new owner and it will likely close before the tenant's lease is up. I want to make sure there are no complications about the key with this deal---
So, I asked the lawyer of the current owner:
- What is likely to happen if the tenant does not want to hand over the key to the house to the new buyer before she officially leaves the house at the end of her lease (lease ends in May, 2014)?
- How does the current owner get the key? Does he have to demand it from the tenant with the threat of eviction if she does not turn it over immediately?
- Who is the party legally responsible for getting a key for the new owner?..Is it the sellers lawyer, the sellers agent or the seller himself?
I have not heard any answers to my questions yet and I am getting a little nervous myself! I have always taken the responsibility of being the "Keeper of the Key" very seriously---I feel that I am acting on behalf of the seller if it is my listing and I have the responsibility to see to it that I turn the key over to the new buyer's agent at the closing! As the buyers representative, the agent has the responsibility to see to it that the key is available to be handed over to his/her client!
WHAT SAY YOU??? As an agent for the seller, is it your responsibility to hand over the key to the buyers agent? Please make your comments below:
**ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY. The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995; Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York
Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005
Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill: http://www.elliman.com/paulahathaway
MY REAL ESTATE SHOWS: