Specific performance for property is a legal remedy available for many real estate disputes. Here, I’ll discuss three things to know about this area of law.
Specific Performance Requires a Party to Fulfill A Contract Duty
A contract is a legally binding, enforceable agreement. What happens when someone breaches a contract? If the other party pursues the matter in court, they can recover damages from the other side. Most of the time, these damages are money. This is the preferred way that courts like to resolve these matters, by simply issuing a judgment for money against the offending party.
Money, however, won’t always solve the problem. Sometimes in a contract dispute, the goal is to get what was actually bargained for. This most commonly occurs with property. Most often, the buyer doesn’t just want money in a contract dispute; the buyer wants the actual sale of the home to occur.
In such a matter, a party can request specific performance. If successful, the court will order the breaching party to sell the property.
A Judge, and Not A Jury, Determines Whether Specific Performance Is Allowed
In law, some matters are determined by a jury, and others, by a judge. Whether or not someone is entitled to specific performance for property is a decision that a judge alone decides.
While specific performance is commonly granted for real estate contract disputes, it is not a strict requirement. A judge does have discretion in granting such relief and may not allow it if the other party acted in bad faith.
Contracts For Real Estate Have Many Forms
Massachusetts, like most states, requires most contracts for real estate to be in writing.
Most of us think of legal contracts as lengthy, typed agreements that lawyers negotiate and draft. However, this isn’t the only way to draft contracts. Courts have found contracts to be created through text messages, email, and other written correspondence.
For this reason, a claim for specific performance for property is not lost simply because a contract is not in a traditional written form. For this reason, those involved in a contract dispute involving property should speak to an experienced attorney to determine if specific performance is a viable option.