Options—extending time for exercise

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Options—extending time for exercise
  • Waiver
  • Express variation

Options—extending time for exercise

Unless the option agreement or contract specifically allows for extensions of time, the time limit must be strictly adhered to. It cannot be extended by reference to equitable principles, nor can the buyer unilaterally vary the terms of a contract. Extension must be by waiver or by express agreement.

The seller (or the buyer in rare cases where the time limit has been inserted purely for the benefit of the buyer, eg where a contract is conditional on the obtaining of planning permission by the seller by a certain date) can waive the right to insist on performance by the stipulated time and allow an extension.


Waiver has the effect of substituting the extended time for the original time limit. If time is of the essence in respect of the original longstop date it will remain so in respect of the new date. If the new time limit is not specified in the waiver the seller is entitled to impose a reasonable new time limit which may become of the essence. If the new time limit is unreasonable it will only take effect on expiry of a reasonable time.

For time to be of the essence of a contract, the time must be fixed. If time is of the essence and the longstop or extension expires, time does not continue to be of the

Related documents:

Popular documents