Rockledge, FL asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Florida

Q: Can I request that a contract to purchase land in Florida be extended 30 days beyond closing date?

The attorney is getting close to obtaining clear title, however due to Covid-19 it is delayed but hopefully will be resolved soon. I asked that the contract be extended but the seller does not want to do this. Can I request to extend 30 days under the Force Majeure?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Jane Kim
Jane Kim
Answered
  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If you have an attorney working on your behalf, you should be asking him/her this question.

Generally, and in a different context (insurance), the courts have consistently ruled that Covid is not a Force Majeure event. I am not sure what the Covid-related reason can be in buying land, but typically your real estate agent negotiates an extension with the seller's agent. It is the title company that does the search and extends title insurance. If there is no title insurance yet, you should not have a closing until then. Closing extensions commonly happen and for various reasons, but it is typically up to the seller to agree to a short extension. Usually, there is no reason not to provide it unless the seller does not believe you can close with an extension. Or, the seller believes s/he can get a better price now.

THIS ANSWER IS NOT INTENDED TO CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. NOTHING IN THIS ANSWER SHOULD BE TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE FOR ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE OR SITUATION.

Terrence H Thorgaard and Linda Liang agree with this answer

Linda Liang
Linda Liang
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Boca Raton, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I agree with my colleague that this is a question best answered by your attorney who knows about your circumstances. Force Majeure means "unforeseeable circumstances" that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract. At this point, I suspect Covid-19 can be quoted as unforseeable for this transaction. Again, you may have circumstance that supports this argument. The person who knows better is your own attorney.

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow
PREMIUM
Answered

A: Rely on your Florida attorney.

Your question is short but interesting, I would ask your Florida attorney about "time is of the essence" and "marketable title."

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