Whether you are a purchaser or seller in a residential or commercial property deal, there may come a point in time before closing when you decide you no longer want to go through with the deal. There could be any number of reasons for this: concern over rising or falling property values; another real estate option that popped up; a lost revenue source; or even a personal attachment to the property itself. You always have the option of asking the other party to consider renegotiating the sale agreement, and, if both of you agree to do so then you are free to do that. But, under California law, the other party does have the right to demand specific performance, and you are advised to work with a real estate litigation attorney in response to such a demand.
Specific Performance in California Real Estate
For the uninitiated, specific performance is a judicial remedy by which a court orders that one party in a contract go through with its obligations under the contract, i.e. sell the property to the party requesting specific performance or, in other cases, follow through with the purchase of the property.
In most contractual matters, courts are reluctant to order specific performance on the principle that parties should be free to do what they please without the government forcing them to do something. In such cases, money damages are usually paid by the breaching party to the non-breaching party to account for the losses the non-breaching party suffers.
The courts view real estate deals differently, as every piece of real estate is, by definition, unique. Thus, when a party contracts to buy a certain piece of real estate, money damages would be insufficient to cover the breach of not selling that piece of real estate. Courts will enforce specific performance against both breaching buyers and sellers in real estate deals.
Work With an Attorney to Respond to a Specific Performance Demand
If your only grounds for not wanting to go through with either purchasing or selling the property are that you have changed your mind based on some factor that has nothing to do with the other party’s actions thus far, you may not have a great case for opposing a specific performance demand.
That said, if there are obligations pursuant to the land sale contract that the other party has failed to follow through with – or if there are significant inaccuracies or questions about the validity of certain representations made to you – then you may be able to defeat a demand for specific performance.
A real estate litigation attorney can examine your circumstances to determine whether such grounds may exist. An attorney can also negotiate on your behalf with the other party in pursuit of alternative resolutions to the matter short of your going through with the transaction.
Contact the Real Estate Attorneys at Wagenseller Law Firm
At Wagenseller Law Firm in downtown Los Angeles, we provide full legal services to individuals and businesses in business and real estate litigation matters. Contact the Wagenseller Law Firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your real estate matter.