Buyers and sellers with signed contracts that are legally binding have many contractual obligations. Here are a few examples.

 

The standard form, Contract of Purchase and Sale, contains this clause:
“The Purchase Price includes any buildings, improvements, fixtures, appurtenances and attachments thereto, and all blinds, awnings, screen doors and windows, curtain rods, tracks and valances, fixed mirrors, fixed carpeting, electric, plumbing, heating and air conditioning fixtures and all appurtenances and attachments thereto as viewed by the Buyer on the date of inspection...” (Clause 7: Included items).

The contract provides a space for additional items that are to be included or excluded, for example, washing and drying machines, curtains or even a stone garden bench.

If you've specified items in the contract that have been removed when you take possession of your home, talk to your REALTOR® and/or your lawyer as to whether the seller has breached Clause 7 of the contract.

Property condition

The standard form Contract of Purchase and Sale contains this clause:
“The Property and all included items will be in substantially the same condition at the Possession Date as when viewed by the Buyer...” (Clause 8: Viewed).

If the property’s condition is different when you take possession of your property, talk to your REALTOR® and/or your lawyer as to whether the seller has breached Clause 8 of the contract.

Other commitments

Buyers may impose a specific obligation on the seller, for example, to make repairs or to clean the property prior to the closing. Examples could include shampooing carpets, power washing the driveway, removing garbage and unwanted items, cutting lawns, and repairing fences.

Sellers (and buyers) are obligated to keep their contractual commitments. If a contractual commitment has been breached, consider talking to your Realtor and/or your lawyer.

Your Realtor and their brokerage may be able to help resolve this complaint by contacting the other party’s Realtor or brokerage.

Note: Your Realtor can't force the other party to do what they said they would do in the contract. As well, your Realtor is not personally obligated to fulfil another party’s commitment. To enforce your contractual rights you’ll need the assistance of a lawyer or the Courts.

Subject to clauses

Buyers may make “subject to” offers for example; subject to the buyer being able to obtain financing; subject to an inspection of the property and/or subject to legal advice. Sellers can accept an offer subject to the seller being able to find another suitable property within a specified period of time or subject to legal or financial advice. The parties must act in good faith and are expected to make reasonable efforts to satisfy and remove subject clauses from the agreement.

Note: A subject clause is not necessarily an “escape clause.” If the other contracting party does not believe you have made an effort to satisfy the subject clause they may consider that you have breached your contractual obligations.

Deposits

Deposits are most commonly held in trust by the buyer’s Realtor’s brokerage. Once deposit monies have been placed in the brokerage trust account they can only be removed from the trust account with the written approval of the buyer and seller. If the parties can't agree, the brokerage may pay the monies into court pending legal action that the parties may choose to take.