Welcome to the website of the law office of Steven D. Rubin.  Mr. Rubin is licensed to practice law in the State of Florida and his office  is located at 200 West Palmetto Park Road, Suite 301, Boca Raton, Florida 33432. He is admitted to practice before all of the State Courts in Florida, as well as various federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, and is a Florida Bar Board Certified Real Estate Attorney.

REMEDY LOST: THE ADVERSE CONSEQUENCE OF AN AMBIGUOUS DESCRIPTION OF LAND IN THE CONTRACT FOR SALE

A written contract for the conveyance of real property must contain all of the essential mutually agreed upon terms. One essential element is the agreed upon description of the real property to be conveyed. If the description of the land described in the contract cannot be determined by a surveyor reading the contract, with or without the use of extrinsic evidence (e.g., looking at a plat is extrinsic evidence), then the description is patently ambiguous (i.e.,  the surveyor cannot identify the property in the contract to the exclusion of all other property). Oral testimony of the parties at trial (parol evidence) is not permitted to resolve a patent ambiguity of the description of the land in the contract. The consequence of a patently ambiguous description of the land in the contract is the likelihood that the buyer will not be able to compel the seller, by court action, to convey the property to the buyer (i.e., by an action for “specific performance”), even if the seller has unjustifiably breached the contract by refusing to close.

Which of the following descriptions of land in a contract have been determined by the courts to be patently ambiguous?
1. “Approximately 20,000 square feet in the 31 story building.”
2. “A survey to establish the exact legal description of the property to be conveyed…per the sketch of the general area which is attached to the contract.”
3. “Property adjacent to the Mardi Gras, a Daytona Beach business, having a minimum of 50 frontage feet on the Boardwalk, and sufficient land to build a 7500 square foot building.”
4. Only (1) and (3) above.
5. All of the above.

See Boardwalk at Daytona Beach Development, LLC v. Paspalakis, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D2605 (Fla. 5th DCA, November 18, 2016). The correct answer is (5).