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October 3, 2016 — Since all contracts are different and contain various provisions regarding how damage to the property is handled, the answers depend on the language of your specific deal. However, if you use the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar contracts, Standard 18M covers repairs, the obligation of the seller and other issues related to property damaged before closing.

This section, entitled Risk of Loss, states that if the property is damaged by fire or other casualty loss and the cost of restoration does not exceed 1.5 percent of the purchase price, the seller must restore the property and closing shall proceed according to the terms of the contract. In the event the cost of restoration exceeds 1.5 percent of the purchase price, the buyer has the option of taking the property “as is” together with the 1.5 percent, or the buyer can receive his or her deposit back, and all parties are released from the contract.

In the event of any casualty damage to the property, it is important for the parties to get an estimate for repairs as quickly as possible so they will have a better understanding of their options. Additionally, depending on the type of casualty loss, the contract’s force majeure provision may apply, which could delay the closing or terminate the deal.

As risk of loss could involve potential legal issues, buyers and sellers may also want to consult their own legal counsel.

Meredith Caruso is Manager of Member Legal Communications for Florida Realtors

© 2016 Florida Realtors®

Source : Florida Realtors