Muir v Merano (IL)

378 Ill App 3d 1103, 882 NE2d 715, 317 Ill Dec 835 (5th D 2008)

Facts: The Muirs entered in to a contract to purchase real estate from Merano on September 1, 2005. The Muirs deposited $10,000 earnest money with Merano; the rest of the purchase price would be due at closing. The Muirs were to live at the property and pay $500.00 a month until their home in California sold, at which time the closing would take place. While living in the home, the Muirs noticed several possible material defects. At that time they requested the disclosure document, this request and five subsequent requests were refused. The Muirs terminated the contract for the sale of real estate due to Merano's failure to provide the disclosure document required under the Residential Real Property Disclosure Act (Disclosure Act).

The Muirs then brought an action against vendor to recover their entire $10,000 earnest money deposit. The court entered judgment in favor of purchasers. Vendor appealed.

Holding: Affirmed.

Section 55 of the Disclosure Act provides that "if a seller refuses to provide the disclosure document prior to the conveyance of the property, the buyer shall have the right to terminate the contract." The court rejected Merano's argument that the remedy of terminating the contract was not available to the Muirs until at or very near the time of closing. Merano argued because the closing had yet to be scheduled the Muirs could not terminate the contract. The court found no support for this argument in the statute's plain language. The court held that if a buyer signs a contract without receiving the written disclosure document and the document is not received afterwards, the purchaser may, at any time before closing terminate the contract and receive a full refund of the earnest money.

Opinion Year: 
By: ATG Underwriting Department | Posted on: Mon, 08/25/2008 - 3:39pm