In real estate, written contracts exist so that both parties are fully aware of their obligations in the transaction. However, when one party does not uphold their end of the contract by failing to fulfill the obligations outlined within the contract, this is known as a breach of contract. There are different ways a breach can happen: the party may not have fulfilled their obligations in a timely manner, the party may have performed these obligations in a way that did not meet the terms of the contract or the party may have not performed the obligations at all. In all of these cases, the non-breaching party is entitled to sue the other party for compensatory damages. The exact amount and kind of damages is dependent on the facts of the case. There are also other remedies, such as specific performance, in which a court requires the breaching party to fulfill their obligations according to the contract.
Breaches of contract can occur in a range of real estate transactions. An example of a breach of contract in a tenant-landlord relationship is if the landlord fails to uphold his obligations to you as outlined in the lease, does not return your security deposit, does not make necessary repairs or deducts money from your deposit without a valid reason. There can be a seller breach of contract, which is normally when the seller chooses not to sell their property to the buyer in accordance with the contract that has been executed. There can also be a buyer breach of a purchase contract, which often leads to a series of negative consequences for the seller. In this case, the breaching buyer may be ordered by a court to pay expenses to the seller. These expenses may include insurance, homeowner association dues, mortgage payments, maintenance and utilities.
The basic elements you must prove in a successful breach of contract lawsuit are that you performed your obligations pursuant to the contract, that the other party did not fulfill their obligations and, finally, that you suffered economic damages due to the breach of contract. An experienced real estate lawyer, who has handled breach of contract litigation, can offer you advice regarding your legal options in your particular situation.
You may be entitled to compensation if the other party has breached the executed contract. Faith, Ledyard & Faith, PLC, is an experienced Arizona real estate law firm that has handled a range of property disputes, including breach of contract litigation. For expert legal guidance regarding your property dispute and to speak to an attorney, contact Faith, Ledyard & Faith, PLC, at 623-806-8994.
Sources: http://www.americanbar.org/newsletter/publications/law_trends_news_practice_area_e_newsletter_home/foulrealestatetransactions.html, http://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/committees/realestate/news_analysis/articles_2013/0509-breach-of-contract-real-estate.html