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What is specific performance?

Specific performance is a term related to contracts law, and it could be applicable to contracts between property owners and construction contractors. It could also be applicable when you are dealing with real estate transactions in the context of a construction project.

Any good contract used in such situations should have one or more sections that spell out legal remedies should one party believe the other has not fulfilled the contract or caused damages because of a failure to meet contractual obligations. For example, if a contractor agrees to build a roof up to certain codes and standards, there's some expectation that the roof will hold in certain weather conditions. The contractor might not have performed his or her duty under the contractor if the roof is damaged by the first high wind.

Often, contracts spell out monetary compensation for damages or breach of contract. However, money can't always compensate someone fully for the damage or might not be the preferable reparation in every case. Sure, monetary payment lets you seek a repair of the roof from another contractor, but another contractor might not be desirable or offer you the same rate. This is where specific performance comes in.

Specific performance clauses can ensure that the party who breached the contract or caused the damage must perform specific actions spelled out under the contract. That might include completing specific repairs, finishing work agreed to or making good on a breached sales contract. Specific performance isn't just a reiteration of what is already required in the contract, but it is a list of specific required actions should the contract be breached. You can find out whether specific performance can help you create strong contracts by speaking with a construction contract lawyer.

Source: FindLaw, "What is Contracts Law?," accessed Sep. 16, 2016

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