Seller’s duty to take reasonable care of the property between contract and completion

The seller of property has an equitable duty to take reasonable care to keep the property in a reasonable state of preservation between contract and completion.

In Clarke v Ramuz ([1891] 2 QB 456) Ramuz entered into a contract to sell property to Clarke. Between contract and completion a trespasser removed a large quantity of top soil from the land. After completion the buyer sought compensation for the removal of the soil. It was held that the seller had to compensate him. The seller owes a duty to take reasonable care to keep the property in reasonable condition between contract and completion. As far as possible it should be kept in the same state as at the date of the contract. Here the seller had failed to perform this duty.

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