In Chapter 16 you learned about different conditions that relieve parties from performance despite having executed a valid and binding contract. Commercial leases and private landlord-tenant leases are common forms of contracts. In some cases, these leases contain a force majeure clause which might excuse one or both parties’ performance obligations when circumstances occur which are beyond the parties’ control and make performance of the contract impractical or impossible.
Below is an example of force majeure events typically enumerated in a lease.
“Landlord and Tenant shall each be excused from performing its obligations in the event, but only so long as the performance of any of its obligations are prevented or delayed, retarded or hindered by act of God, fire, earthquake, riot, mob violence, governmental action or inaction, strikes, pandemics, epidemics, acts of terrorism or any other cause, whether similar or dissimilar to the foregoing, not within the reasonable control of the party or its agents, contractors or employees…”
Consider the following fact patterns and decide whether the tenant could successfully invoke the force majeure clause, and which specific provisions, in the lease to stop paying rent and cancel the lease. Keep in mind the prevailing legal terms in the contract from which your response pivots. These situations are classic examples of applying facts to a legal issue.