Brief Fact Summary.
Edward and Gulielma Fisher, spouses, contracted to sell Gulielma’s country home in Baltimore to Reigart for $35,000. However, the contract described the property as “about 7 acres” when it was only 4.764 acres.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The general rule in such a case of misrepresentation, where the sale can be enforced, is that the vendee shall have what the vendor can give with an abatement for so much as the quantity falls short of the representation.
Where there is a substantial defect with regard to the nature, character, situation, extent, or quality of the estate, which is unknown to the vendee, and in regard to which he is not put upon inquiry, specific performance will not be decreed.View Full Point of Law
In addition to the written contract, Edward orally declare the land to be about 7 acres. When Reigart learned the true size of the property, he demanded his $5,000 down payment back, and refused to proceed further. The Fishers sued for specific performance, and were given a decree in the lower court.
· Did the chancellor err in awarding specific performance?
· Did the chancellor err in the compensation awarded?
Affirmed in part, reversed in part.
· The contract was properly enforced. Reigart desired the property for a home because he desired its appearance; he was not purchasing the property for a farm. The evidence showed that he was not particularly concerned with just how many acres he got.
· The price of the two acres lot the Plaintiffs were negotiating for to take the place of the shortage was $2,000, and that amount should have been allowed in abatement.
· The misrepresentation regarding the size of the property was not such that it induced Reigart to enter the contract. Therefore, it was not so material as to absolve Reigart of his contractual duties.
· Specific performance was appropriate, with a reduction in the purchase price reflecting the difference between the size stated in the contract and the actual size of the land.