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Force Majeure Notice basics

A Force Majeure or "Act of God" clause in a contract frees both parties from liability when an extraordinary event, such as a pandemic, prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their responsibilities under the contract. If your contract contains this clause, you may be able to terminate or delay your contractual obligations on the basis that they are impossible to fulfill due to COVID-19.

If you have questions about contractual obligations during the coronavirus pandemic, ask a lawyer or find additional resources in our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Legal Center.

Use the Force Majeure Notice document if:

  • You are a landlord whose residential or commercial tenant can't pay rent
  • You have been asked by your tenant to defer rental payments because of COVID-19 and agree to this deferral
  • You want to set out the terms of the rent deferral and repayment
  • You want to temporarily reduce rent in exchange for help on the property
  • Making a Force Majeure Notice allows you to alert the other signer(s) regarding a contract termination or a proposed amendment due to COVID-19. Specifically, this letter will cover why you want to change or end your contract, when the contract was entered into, and when the notice to end the contract is effective (if applicable). The letter also allows you to suggest specific contract changes and provides contact information for further negotiation.

    It is important to understand that invoking force majeure may not automatically relieve you of your legal obligations if your contract is not worded to protect you in this situation. If you are unsure of your rights within your contract, ask a lawyer.

    Other names for this document: Force Majeure Contract Termination Letter, Act of God Clause Notice, Hardship Clause Letter

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