HURRICANE MATTHEW: A “FORCE MAJEURE”
October 21, 2016 | Richard Sites
Real estate contracts contain a clause which describes something called Force Majeure. What is this and why is it in my contract?
According to Wikipedia, Force Majeure is described this way:
Force Majeure is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, or an event described by the legal term act of God (hurricane, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, etc.), prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract. In practice, most force majeure clauses do not excuse a party’s non-performance entirely, but only suspend it for the duration of the force majeure.
So our recent Hurricane Matthew would have been an example of one of these events.
Now, notice the parties to the contract are not excluded from completing their obligations, only suspended.
This usually gives the parties time to assess the situation and make the appropriate arrangements. As an example, utilities may have been disrupted so there has to be time for power to be restored.
This can really be a mess if your house is under contract and large trees are blown down. This is one more reason I always recommend the use of a quality real estate attorney.
If you would like to have a conversation about getting your house sold quickly and smoothly, contact me directly at 561.762.4073.