Being in the middle of a deposit dispute is no fun. It’s particularly troublesome if you’re a dual agent. You probably suggest consulting legal counsel. But most of the time this type of fight isn’t worthy investing in an attorney. Despite that, logic typically yields to emotion and a mutually acceptable resolution remains elusive. And sometimes somebody’s money sits and sits and sits.
Our brethren from Pennsylvania have language in their “standard” agreements which might prove helpful in this situation. One clause allows for the release of deposit monies when the dispute is unresolved after a designated number of days. Selecting a reasonable length of time is much easier at the outset of the transaction because the parties are likely seeing “eye-to-eye”. It is important to include exceptions in a clause like this in the event of litigation and/or to preserve the parties’ rights in the event the money is released due to the passage of time.
It’s also possible to require mediation (for this and/or any other dispute) in an attempt to prevent deposit money battles. Strict drafting rules must be followed to prevent crafty counsel from negating this potentially cost and time saving device.