Real Estate Contract Disputes: Real Estate Sales & Remedies

by | Aug 20, 2014 | Business Litigation

Real estate disputes come in various forms, ranging from landlord and tenant disputes from commercial leases, disputes related to zoning and other regulatory compliance, disputes related to title, easements, covenants, etc., and, breach of contract disputes related to the sale or development of land or real estate.

What Remedies Are You Entitled to in a Real Estate Contract Dispute?

Unless limited within the agreement itself, the buyer and seller in a purchase or land sale agreement are entitled to remedies upon the breach of the agreement by either party. A buyer is entitled to certain remedies if a seller defaults on the agreement or wrongfully refuses to transfer the title. A seller is also entitled to certain remedies if the buyer fails to meet a financial obligation, known as a monetary default, or breaches a material term of the agreement. If either party fails or refuses to perform their obligations under the agreement, three main remedies exist, which include: 1) specific performance; 2) money damages; 3) termination of the agreement.

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Specific Performance. If either party is unwilling but able to perform certain contract obligations, an order for specific performance may be imposed by the court. When specific performance is being imposed, the party claiming the breach of contract has usually denied money damages but instead just wants the terms of the contract to be fulfilled, and the transaction to be complete. The court typically orders this remedy when the agreement is so definite, such that money damages are insufficient to return the party claiming breach to their former position. When the court orders this equitable remedy, it usually requires the party to perform a specific act as stated or determined by the contract.

Money Damages. This is an award of money, ordered by the court to compensate a party for any loss or injury that occurs as a result of the breach. Money damages are usually calculated as the difference between the contract price and the market value of the property at issue. The goal of the damages is to put the injured party back in the same economic position they would have been if the contract obligations were actually performed; or if that is not possible, to award the injured party an amount that would, at a minimum, put them back in the same position they were in at the time they entered into the contract.

Termination of the Contract. In the event that a contract is deemed invalid or unenforceable, or the seller has breached (i.e. if the property at the heart of the transaction is not in the condition as was agreed upon), the buyer is typically entitled to terminate the contract and recover any and all payments which were made towards fulfilling the contract obligations. If all the requirements of the land sale or purchase agreement are fulfilled, it will be difficult for a buyer to cancel and/or terminate the agreement. Sellers have more limited opportunities to cancel or terminate the land sale agreement, but may keep buyer deposits if the buyer cancels for no reason.

Are You Involved in a Real Estate Dispute?

Our experienced business litigation lawyer West Palm Beach handle all types of contract disputes, and can assist you if you are involved in a real estate dispute. Contact the Law Offices of Peter M. Feaman, P.A., serving Boynton Beach and all of South Florida, for your free and personalized consultation. Contact our firm by calling us at 561-469-0019.


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