Managing Partner Robert M. Steeg is a regular contributing columnist on real estate for Reuters Legal News and Westlaw Today. His article, “6 Small Issues With Real Estate Documents That Can Turn Into Big Problems,” was published on May 11, 2023. Following is an excerpt, which you can continue reading on Reuters Legal News and Westlaw.
6 Small Issues With Real Estate Documents That Can Turn Into Big Problems
Musician Don Henley famously sang, “Lawyers dwell on small details.”
He was certainly right if he was singing about lawyers who handle real estate and business transactions. However, he should have added a line about how those details matter. Following are six seemingly unimportant issues that can arise in real estate documents and business contracts that can turn into big problems, and tips on how to avoid them. In other words: DO sweat the small stuff.
Provisions Concerning the Giving of Written Notice
Provisions that concern the giving of written notice is the first thing a litigator will look at to try to negate the exercise of a party’s rights under a contract. Was the notice given in the proper way? Were all necessary parties notified? What is the date upon which the notice was “given”? Many cases have been won or lost on these small points.
Make sure you have a street address for delivery. Overnight commercial couriers like Federal Express or UPS cannot deliver to a P.O. Box. If that is the only address provided for a party, that effectively negates the most effective way to give written notice.
Virtually all important deadlines start when the written notice is “given,” so the notice provision should leave no doubt as to the date upon which the notice will be considered “given.” Many older notice provisions say that the notice is considered “given” when it is sent. That is an invitation for litigation later.
The better practice is…