The circumstances in which a party to a contract for the sale of land may recover damages have been the subject of considerable judicial and academic discussion recently. That discussion has focused on those situations in which the contract has been terminated for breach. The purpose of the present article is to consider the position where the purchaser either wishes or is obliged to keep the contract on foot notwithstanding the breach by the vendor. There are at least three possible situations:
(1) Where the vendor misdescribes the property in the particulars of sale. That misdescription may take one of two forms. The vendor may either misdescribe the extent of the land (for example, he agrees to sell twenty acres when he has only fifteen) or the state of his title (for example, he contracts to sell as freeholder when the property is in fact leasehold). A purchaser may terminate the contract if the misdescription is substantial even if there is a conditien of sale which states that the contract will not be vitiated by reason of, or that compensation will be payable in the event of any misdescription.