Specific Performance Attorney Los Angeles
Schorr Law has significant experience representing its commercial and residential real estate clients with specific performance matters.
What is Specific Performance in Real estate law?
Specific performance is a common remedy for a failed purchase and sale of real property. By initiating a specific performance cause of action, the buyer or seller of real property asks the court to compel the other party to perform its contractual obligation to either buy or sell the property. In other words, the plaintiff will seek the equitable remedy of specific performance based on the underlying cause of action for breach of the purchase and sale agreement (breach of contract).
These lawsuits are a common remedy pursued for both commercial real estate and residential real estate. In the commercial litigation context, the lawsuit may be based on the failure of a seller to honor an option to purchase leased property or simply a failed purchase transaction. In the residential context, a plaintiff often commences such an action after the escrow for a property does not close.
Specific performance is commonly pursued in connection with real estate disputes. Because of the unique nature of real property, it often provides the best remedy for a plaintiff who desires to purchase a particular piece of real property.
In these cases, when we represent the buyer, we always recommend recording a lis pendens (notice of pendency of action) to ensure that the seller does not sell or otherwise dispose of the subject property while the lawsuit is still pending.
What is a Bright Line Test in Specific Performance?
If you are the buyer seeking specific performance, then the key factors contributing to whether the court will grant an award of specific performance is whether you have performed your obligations under the contract and remain ready, willing and able to purchase the property at all times. Buyer does not necessarily have to perform all conditions in the contract if the seller prevented performance in some way. Buyer does, however, have to be able to show that at all times they remained ready, willing and able to purchase the property. Check out our post on bright line test for more information.
Can you get Specific Performance and Damages?
Yes, as part of the specific performance decree, the court has the power to award damages. The damages available, however, are generally incidental to the decree. That means that the court awards damages as a result of the defendant’s breach. For example, the court could award buyer the cost of a loan rate lock extension that the buyer paid to keep their loan at the same rate while they pursued specific performance. For rental proeprty, the court can also award the lost rent that the buyer would have collected had the property closed on time. But, the lost rent is offset by the buyer’s carrying costs.
Examples of some of the matters our specific performance attorneys at Schorr Law have handled include:
- A specific performance lawsuit on behalf of a large public company to enforce a lease option to purchase a multimillion dollar commercial piece of real property in Commerce, California where the property had substantially increased in value;
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of client in defense of a specific performance lawsuit involving alleged broker fraud and buyer non-performance in connection with the sale of a large apartment building in Los Angeles, California.
- Successfully forced the sale of residential real property on behalf of buyer on many occasions where seller attempted to back out of the transaction based on a change of circumstances, increase in price or for no reason at all.
- The defense of specific performance lawsuits involving the sale of residential real property;
- Successful defense of a specific performance lawsuit arising out of the sale of a liquor store;
- Successful defense of a specific performance lawsuit involving the primary residence of an elderly client who did not understand the terms of the purported purchase agreement. Schorr Law was able to convince the plaintiff to drop the lawsuit after Schorr Law filed a motion for summary judgment.
- Counseling numerous sellers on how to cancel escrow without being subject to a specific performance lawsuit based on terms of purchase and sale agreement.