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$5000 deposit stuck in Escrow

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The buyer of my home in California sent me a notice of cancellation 10 days into escrow. This was after the home inspector said the home was in good condition and only needed some cosmetic work. The buyer made a written request for repairs in which I (seller) agree to 9 of the 10 requests. The only item I didn't agree to was the pulling of three trees in my back yard (which were not on the inspection report or listed in the agreement). The buyer then canceled the agreement because I wouldn't pull the trees. The buyers $5000 deposit is still in escrow, and I have not signed the release form to return the deposit because I feel that we have been damaged and the buyer is in breach of contract. They are now threatening me with a lis pending to hold up the sale of my home that is currently in escrow. I tried to mediate with the buyer by agreeing to return $4000 and we go our separate ways, but to no avail. The purchase agreement says "Property, including pool, spa, landscaping and grounds, is to be maintained in substantially the same condition as on the day of acceptance." The Escrow officer and my broker's son, a real estate attorney, say they can't hold up the sale of my home, and to try to do so would be a big mistake on their part. The attorney said to just wait for their lawyer to send you a letter and he would respond free of charge. Is this a valid contingency of the agreement?

[Edited by ronwarren on 06-05-2001 at 11:56 PM]

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