Tag Archives: utility shutoffs

Thinking Ahead–I will not permit any kind of utility “shut-offs” on my watch as BUYER’s Attorney, if I can Possibly Avoid Them

Recently, I wrote a post about the problems I encountered when a client of mine had serious closing problems because, by mistake, the dwelling in question had its electricity shut down, pipes froze and there was ensuing damage. Fortunately, for all concerned I had a financially viable SELLER who was motivated. Substantially all of the repairs have been completed in three (3) days and we are closing on the purchase today.

My client will be buying a dwelling, with three brand new radiators, a¬†bunch of state of the art piping, newly, freshly painted drywall and, generally, an upgrade in condition from the “condition the premise are at the date of the home inspection, reasonable wear and tear excepted” In a word, my client has “lucked out”. They are good people who did not deserve all this last minute anguish so “good things happened to good people”.

The comments I received form the ActiveRain community on this situation were thoughtful, and I got to thinking how ironic it is that in Massachusetts, where I practice real estate law, and which is known for frigid winters, there is no real estate association or real estate bar association standard clause in the purchase and sale Agreement dealing with this type of situation.

Henceforth, that will changes, at least for me. In my BUYER representation contracts, I intend to include the following:

“The SELLER agrees to maintain the premises from the date of this Agreement until the time that the BUYER receives the Deed and keys to the dwelling in substantially the same conditions as exist on the date of this Agreement. This not only includes maintaining the lawn and shrubbery in the usual manner, but insuring that all utilities leading to the premises are kept operational and not “shut off” under any circumstances. The parties agree that the financial and other damages to be suffered by the BUYER as a result of SELLER’s breach of this covenant will be difficult to ascertain, so in addition to the SELLER’s agreeing to bear the full expense of repair¬†should the SELLER violate this covenant, the SELLER also agrees to pay the expenses, if any, for the BUYER to extend BUYER’s financing commitment and a “Break-up” fee of One (1%) of the Purchase Price set forth elsewhere in this Agreement”

I do not expect many SELLERS to agree to this. It would probably only happen if they, or their attorney, did not read my comments. On the other hand, I have told the SELLER, in advance that “shut-offs” are serious and not acceptable. Since I write posts frequently, I will inform you of my success here. Again, your comments were very helpful, and I would appreciate more, if you can find the time.