The market remains a seller’s market. But what happens if a seller accepts an offer and then tries to back out of it? There are certain legal remedies that may apply. Two of the more common options include specific performance and the use of an injunction.
#1: Specific performance
Specific performance is a legal term that means what it says: it requires the seller to perform as outlined specifically within the contract. In this case it means the buyer could use this option to force the seller to move forward with the sale. A court will generally honor this request if the details of the agreement are clear, definite, and certain.
It is important to note that the decision to grant specific performance is one that is at the court’s discretion. Even when you meet all the elements, the court may weigh the details of the case and chose not to grant the request. Because of this, it is generally a good idea to also bring a suit forward for damages. The court may award damages to help put the buyer back in the financial position they would be in had the sale moved forward as outlined within the contract.
Injunctions are court orders. In order for a buyer to get an injunction they must generally fulfill the following requirements:
- Harm. The buyer will need to show the court that a failure to intervene will result in irreparable harm.
- No other adequate remedy. The buyer will also need to establish that there is not another option, no other legal remedy will solve the problem. Real estate is often unique, so it is possible to gather evidence to support this contention.
- Legal right. Have paperwork ready to support the allegation that the sale was moving forward. This could include a copy of the offer and the seller’s acceptance.
- Public interest. It is in the public’s interest to grant the injunction.
These are just a few options to consider when in this type of situation. An attorney experienced in Florida real estate law can review your situation and provide guidance tailored to your case to help better ensure your interests and rights are protected.