Can I get a specific performance if seller backed out 3 weeks after the stated closing date?

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Can I get a specific performance if seller backed out 3 weeks after the stated closing date?

I signed a contract with a seller 2 months ago and we were supposed to close in 30 days. On closing date, seller and buyers signed everything but could not close because seller did not provide a document that shows their discharged Chapter 7 is closed. After that they did not try to close the bankruptcy and did not sign the extensions that we sent to them. Then, 3 weeks after the closing date, they have backed out because they simply want the creditors to foreclose. In that case, they can stay at home for another 8 to 10 months and still get the homestead exemption. Why bother getting out when they can stay there for another year and still get the exemption. They have asked me to sign the rescission. Can I get a specific performance? How long does it take? I am supposed to move out from my rental apartment in few days.

Asked on November 5, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Technically, you can get specific performance--one of the few cases where courts may grant specific performance (which is generally disfavored by the courts)--in a case like this, but:
1) Even though it is available, it is disfavored; you can't count on getting it, but should sue for specific performance and, in the alternative, for monetary compensation, since that way, if the court declines specific performance, you can at least get monetary compensation, such as for the costs spend on the transaction and the cost to store your belongins and/or rent someplace else for some months.
2) You can only get specific performance through the courts. Usually, a case takes many months. You can try to expedite it by filing on an "emergent" (think "emergency" or "urgent") basis, which can get you into court in 1 - 2 weeks generally, but that is procedurally more complex than a non-emergent action...you will really want an attorney's help.
3) If their bankruptcy is still open, that could prevent the transaction from going forward (though you may still be entitled to some compensation)--speak to an attorney who knows something  about bankruptcy before doing anything here, since bankrutpcy law can and will trump the contract of sale.


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