When you make a deal with someone, you know that a written contract can help protect your interests – but some people believe that contracts are made to be broken.
Generally speaking, when one party breaks a contract, the courts usually resolve the issue by ordering the breaching party to pay the other one monetary damages for any losses that have occurred – but what happens when money isn’t exactly an adequate remedy?
In certain situations, the court can order the breaching party to fulfill their end of the bargain after all. This is called specific performance.
Specific performance may be the only viable option
Specific performance is often the only way to resolve issues where there are unique elements involved in the contract. This can be particularly true in real estate.
Imagine, for example, that you go through an extensive search for the perfect piece of property for your home or business. The owner agrees to sell it to you for a fair price. However, since the real estate market has been volatile, they start to think twice about the deal they’ve made. Before you can complete the purchase, they decide that they want to hold onto the property a bit longer. They try to back out of the deal.
Since every piece of real estate is unique, you may be able to ask the court to order them to adhere to the contract’s terms, effectively forcing the sale.
Courts are more likely to grant specific performance when the terms of an agreement are clear, reasonable and unambiguous – and that starts with a good contract. If you’re worried about what could happen if a contract breach happens, find out more about your legal rights.