Specific Performance as a Remedy in Ontario


I am representing the buyers in a deal that is firm and set to close in a few weeks. The Listing Agent says her client wants to back out of the deal. My clients’ lawyer says we can’t force them to close and that the best they can do is purchase another property and sue for damages. Obviously, this is not ideal. Is this what we have to do?


Yes, but, specific performance is an extra-ordinary remedy. That means that the Court will not enforce that, unless the property is “unique” in some way. It used to be that all real estate in Ontario was considered to be unique.

Then, the Courts decided that most houses in a 1,000 house subdivision were all very much the same.

However, if you were purchasing the immediately adjacent property or there was some reasonable argument about uniqueness in some way, then the Court will still order specific performance.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker


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