Time is of the Essence

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Time is of the Essence

A phrase in a contract that means that performance by one party at or within the period specified in the contract is necessary to enable that party to require performance by the other party.

Failure to act within the time required constitutes a breach of the contract. The general rule is that time is not of the essence unless the contract expressly so provides. As a result, with respect to real estate transactions, the modern view is that time is not of the essence unless the parties have manifested such an intent. The same is generally true in construction contracts and in contracts relating to the manufacture of goods. When time is not of the essence, courts generally permit parties to perform their obligations within a reasonable time.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

time is of the essence

n. a phrase often used in contracts, which, in effect says: the specified time and dates in this agreement are vital and thus, mandatory, and "we mean it." Therefore, any delay, reasonable or not, slight or not, will be grounds for cancelling the agreement. (See: contract)

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