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Real Property - Tender

. Azzarello v. Shawqi

In Azzarello v. Shawqi (Ont CA, 2019) the Court of Appeal commented as follows on the law of tender:
[30] This court has recently explained the law that applies in these circumstances in Di Millo v. 2099232 Ontario Inc., 2018 ONCA 1051 (CanLII), 430 D.L.R. (4th) 296, at paras. 45-49, leave to appeal refused, [2019] S.C.C.A. No. 50:
For a party to be entitled to specific performance, the party must show he or she is ready, willing and able to close: Time Development Group Inc. (In trust) v. Bitton, 2018 ONSC 4384 (CanLII), at para. 53; see also Norfolk v. Aikens (1989), 1989 CanLII 245 (BC CA), 41 B.C.L.R. (2d) 145 (C.A.). While tender is the best evidence that a party is ready, willing and able to close, tender is not required from an innocent party enforcing his or her contractual rights when the other party has clearly repudiated the agreement or has made it clear that they have no intention of closing the deal: McCallum v. Zivojinovic (1977), 1977 CanLII 1151 (ON CA), 16 O.R. (2d) 721 at p. 723 (C.A.); see also Dacon Const. Ltd. v. Karkoulis, 1964 CanLII 252 (ON SC), [1964] 2 O.R. 139 (Ont. H.C.).

In McCallum, at p. 723, this court explained that the renunciation of a contract may be express or implied:
The renunciation of a contract may be express or implied. A party to a contract may state before the time for performance that he will not, or cannot, perform his obligations. This is tantamount to an express renunciation. On the other hand a renunciation will be implied if the conduct of a party is such as to lead a reasonable person to the conclusion that he will not perform, or will not be able to perform, when the time for performance arises.
The purchaser in McCallum made it clear that he did not intend to complete the transaction on the closing date and this renunciation relieved the vendors from the obligation to tender.

The principles around the requirement to tender are summarized succinctly by Perell J. in Time Development Group [2018 ONSC 4384], at paras. 56-57:
Tender … is not a prerequisite to the innocent party enforcing his or her contractual rights. Tender is not required from an innocent party when the other party has clearly repudiated the agreement. Numerous cases have held that the law does not require what would be a meaningless or futile gesture. Moreover, when there is an anticipatory breach, the innocent party need not wait to the date for performance before commencing proceedings for damages or in the alternative for specific performance of the agreement. [Citations omitted.]
Thus, when a party by words or conduct communicates a decision not to proceed to closing, the other party is released from any obligation to tender in order to prove he was ready, willing and able to close: see Kirby v. Cameron, 1961 CanLII 203 (ON CA), [1961] O.R. 757 (C.A.); Kloepfer Wholesale Hardware v. Roy, 1952 CanLII 8 (SCC), [1952] 2 S.C.R. 465.


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