I purchased a new condo several months ago. Since then, the builder has not completed the condo, interest rates have risen dramatically, and my moving costs continue to increase. What actions can I take against the builder?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Your purchase agreement is a legal contract that will be enforced by the court of law. If that legal contract contains a specified closing date, and that date has passed, then the builder may be considered to be in breach of the contract. As such, you may be able to collect your damages by filing a breach of contract suit.

Understanding a Breach of Contract

Contracts are made and formed by people every day. Assuming they meet all the requirements of a valid legal contract (i.e. are in writing if necessary, are made by people over 18 and of sound mind, etc.) these contracts become legally enforceable promises. If a promise written in one of the contracts isn’t kept, then the party who endures the broken promise gets the legal right to sue for breach.

This being the case, one option that you have is to sue the builder for breach of contract. This would mean going to court, proving the breach and showing that you were damaged in some way. If you choose this option, then you should be able to get your money back for any actual damages from the court. Exactly how much you get back is going to depend on exactly how much you lost. For example, if you move into the condo anyway, then you might get back the exact amount you will have to pay out in extra interest (provided you can prove you’d have locked in a lower rate loan otherwise) as well as the extra costs for moving. It is important to note that you’ll be awarded only your actual damages (real, provable financial losses) in most cases.

You may also have other options. For example, you may be to review your contract to see if there is a way to terminate for breach or to see if there are any penalties specified in your contract for delay. You might be able to hire a new builder and sue your old builder for the costs you pay out to the new person to finish the undone work. You may be able to negotiate a new deal with the builder at a lower price to make up your costs.

These are just a few examples of your potential options. You should consult with a lawyer to find out the best way to proceed.

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