[b:1d327587f9]Forfeiture[/b:1d327587f9] is a kind of foreclosure carried out in case of land contracts mostly. A land contract is a real estate contract in which the buyer agrees to pay the balance of the purchase price to the seller and in return the latter offers him a deed when the contract is paid in full. The seller retains title to the property till the contract is fully repaid.
There are various [b:1d327587f9]reasons[/b:1d327587f9] behind initiating forfeiture. The seller often starts this legal process when the buyer does not fulfill the obligations of the contract or if the latter stops making payments of the land contracts. For instance, the buyer may fail to keep in good repair condition. Forfeiture may also be initiated if the buyer intends to sell off the property to a third party without an approval from the lender.
Prior to the action of the forfeiture, the seller sends a 30 day written notice to the buyer. This [b:1d327587f9]notice[/b:1d327587f9] must meet the following [b:1d327587f9]requirements[/b:1d327587f9].
[list:1d327587f9][*:1d327587f9]The notice must be in writing.
[*:1d327587f9]It should state the details of the contract and describe the features of the property.
[*:1d327587f9]The notice must state the terms which the buyer could not fulfill.
[*:1d327587f9]The notice affirms that the buyer has to meet his obligations or else the contract will be forfeited.
[*:1d327587f9]The legal notice should state the amount of attorney fees claimed by the seller.[/list:u:1d327587f9]The 30 day notice gives the buyer the opportunity to clear his payments and satisfy the obligations within this time period. If the buyer fails to cure his default within this time limit, the seller regains ownership of the property and keeps all the buyer's payments. If the buyer defaults again, the seller will have to issue a second notice called the Declaration of forfeiture. This notice gives him another 30 days to cure the default.
In forfeiture, the seller files an affidavit with the county recorder in order to reflect the change in ownership. Upon successful completion of the legal procedure, the buyer becomes a tenant at will and he may have to leave the property within a few days as stated in the contract. Usually the seller starts off the eviction action by issuing a 3 day notice to the buyer to quit the property.
If a buyer thinks that the seller has incorrectly forfeited the land contract, he can file in response to the eviction petition which deals with the issue of ownership of the property. If the buyer can prove that there is no default in the land contract, then he can stop the forfeiture and regain his ownership rights over the property.
In most cases, where the forfeiture is due to non-payment of monthly installments, the buyer can escape the legal action by paying a substantial amount of the purchase price to the seller. But this is not always guaranteed.