Kimberly and Brian, both established professionals in Sacramento, were excited about moving into a charming yellow house in one of the best neighborhoods in the area.
They had agreed to a lease-to-own arrangement that allocated $3,500 per month toward rent and an additional $2,000 per month toward a refundable deposit for the potential purchase of the property at the end of the three-year contract. If they decided to buy the house, their $72,000 ($2,000 x 36 months) would be applied toward the purchase price. If they decided not to buy the house, the $72,000 would be returned to them.
At the end of the three-year lease, the house appraised at $895,000, but the property owner wanted Kimberly and Brian to pay $1,000,000 instead. The couple decided not to purchase the house at the inflated price and requested their $72,000 deposit back.
The property owner refused, now stating that the entire monthly payment ($3,500 rent + $2,000 deposit per month) was the rental rate for the house, and none of it was refundable.
After attempting to reason with the property owner directly, Kimberly and Brian finally proceeded with a lawsuit. The property owner filed a cross complaint.
Represented by the Arnold Law Firm in a 10-day trial, Kimberly and Brian were awarded $72,000 in damages, plus over $200,000 in interest, legal costs and attorney fees. The jury found the property owner engaged in fraud and breach of contract.