Usually the agreement provides a date for completion. If a date is stat­ed and for some reason completion does not take place exactly on that date the seller cannot immediately terminate the agreement and Claim a forfeit of the deposit and claim damages. This is not the case where the agreement states that the date is “of the essence”. It is seldom in the interests of a buyer to sign an agreement which makes the date the date for completion “of the essence".

If completion does not take place on the (non-essential ) day originally agreed, the disadvantaged party has two choices:

Where there is a fixed date for completion the standard agreement fixes the period to run in a notice to complete. Where there is no fixed period for a notice to complete it must be for a reasonable time. What is a reasonable time depends on the circumstances of each case.