Do you need a coronavirus clause in your real estate contract?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

We have been thinking a lot about you lately - our clients, our business partners, our employees and our communities. National health concerns have changed the way Realtors® and lawyers should be drafting real estate contracts for clients.

The virus is already impacting the economy and beginning to show in the housing markets. What does that mean for buyers, sellers and Realtors®?

Earlier this week, many people were discussing the application of the force majeure provision of the standard real estate contracts customarily used in our area. Throughout the week, a variety of real estate brokerages distributed company approved addenda to address the concerns arising from the impacts of Covid-19 on transactions. Florida Realtors® also released an Extension Addendum to the Contract. Which form should you use? What concerns should be addressed? What questions should you have?

Travel interruptions, social distancing restrictions and business closures are making it hard for the people required to conduct a closing to gather in one room. Although difficult, for now, it is still possible.

There are numerous issues to address, not just closing dates, which are not all address when relying upon the force majeure provision if it applies. While many assume that Covid-19 would be deemed an “act of God,” it is not absolute until determined by a Court. Rather than a potential dispute resulting, it is best to have an agreement of the parties in advance. A bigger concern is how to determine when the force majeure “no longer prevents performance under this Contract.” As these are unprecedented issues with potential unforeseeable outcomes, it is best to analyze your facts and circumstances rather than rely upon boilerplate language without legal advice to ensure your rights are protected, and your obligations under the Contract are clear.

I have personally reached out to each of our clients and Realtors® with pending real estate transactions in our office. If you are a party to a real estate transaction that is not closing with us, we are still here to help you. It is our duty to be good stewards to the community which we serve.

As with any quickly evolving situation, stay safe, stay informed, stay vigilant and be prepared. For additional advice or to have Koontz & Associates, PL draft a custom contract with language unique to your circumstances call us today at (941) 225-2615.

We hope you and your families remain safe during this uncertain time.

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