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Does COVID-19 Trigger a Force Majeure Clause?

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Assuming COVID-19 is a “force majeure” within the meaning of the provision, the party seeking to rely on it must then show two things: that COVID-19 has made the performance of their obligations impossible; and that the outbreak and its consequences were beyond the reasonable foresight and skill of the parties at the time they entered into the contract. In other words, the party claiming the benefit of the clause must show that they cannot perform their contractual obligations due to unforeseeable, extraordinary circumstances beyond their control. A court typically will not accept that an event is a force majeure unless no part of it was within the control of the party claiming its benefit. In other words, a party cannot rely on its own actions or inaction, which led to a certain consequence, as an event of force majeure; the circumstance must be unforeseeable and completely outside the control of the parties”

It is difficult to assess how a court will tackle these questions, particularly because the impact of COVID-19 is still unfolding daily. However, given the current state of affairs, it is likely that a court will find that COVID-19 is an unforeseeable event outside the control of either party. Whether COVID-19 makes it impossible for a party to fulfill its contractual obligations is a different matter. The obligations cannot simply be more difficult to fulfill; they must be impossible. The determination of these questions will be both fact- and contract-specific and totally depends on the circumstances of each case.

What is the difference between Tenants in Common and Joint Tenants?

When two or more owners are on a title, they are registered as joint tenants or tenants in common. This choice affects the property’s ownership when you sell or die.

Joint tenancy

Under joint tenancy, the right of survivorship is awarded to the remaining joint tenants. This means the portion of property owned by the tenant who died is distributed equally among the surviving owner(s).

Tenants in common

In contrast, tenancy in common shares is distributed based on the deceased’s will or probate laws. Tenants in common are free to split ownership of a property as they see fit. They do not need to share the property equally. For example, you could own 75% and your tenant in common 25% of the property.

lien can be placed on investment property, even if that property is owned jointly by multiple owners. However, the effects of that lien may depend heavily on not only the type of lien but also the type of ownership under which the joint owners hold the property.

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