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Time is of the essence

What does “time is of the essence” mean in Queensland property conveyancing?

When you’re buying or selling property in Queensland, you might come across the phrase “time is of the essence” in your contract. But what does this actually mean?

Understanding “time is of the essence”

In the context of Queensland property conveyancing, “time is of the essence” means that the dates and deadlines set out in your contract are crucial. They’re not just suggestions or guidelines—they are strict requirements that both parties must adhere to.

Why is “time is of the essence” important?

Imagine you’re buying a house. Your contract specifies certain dates for things like paying the deposit, finalising finance, and completing the sale. If your contract states that “time is of the essence,” missing any of these deadlines could have serious consequences. You might lose your deposit, face penalties, or even have the contract terminated.

Practical implications of “time is of the essence”

Here’s what you need to keep in mind if your contract includes this phrase:

  • Stick to deadlines: Make sure you meet every date and deadline outlined in the contract. This includes paying deposits, obtaining finance approval, and completing the settlement.
  • Communication is key: Stay in close contact with your solicitor or conveyancer. They’ll help you keep track of important dates and ensure everything is running smoothly.
  • No automatic extensions: If you miss a deadline, don’t expect leniency. The other party can enforce the contract terms strictly, meaning you could be in breach of contract if you’re late.

What Happens if you miss a deadline?

If you fail to meet a deadline in a contract where “time is of the essence,” the consequences can be serious.

The other party can:

  • Terminate the contract: They have the right to cancel the agreement, which could leave you without a property or a buyer.
  • Seek damages: They might seek compensation for any losses they incur due to your delay.
  • Enforce the contract: They can insist that you complete your obligations immediately, potentially causing financial strain.

In summary, “time is of the essence” in Queensland property conveyancing means that every date and deadline in your contract is critical. Missing a single one can have significant legal and financial repercussions. So, keep an eye on your calendar, stay in touch with your conveyancer, and make sure you meet every requirement on time. If you realise that you won’t be able to meet a certain requirement on time (e.g. there are delays with your finance approval), be sure to discuss this with your conveyancer or solicitor as soon as possible as extensions can be requested (although not guaranteed) ahead of the due date.

Property Law Centre endeavours to keep your property transaction smooth and stress-free. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team should you have any questions on 1300 765 488.