What is the Statute of frauds?
The statute of frauds requires certain contracts–like a real estate sale contract–to be in writing if the parties wish to see them enforced in Court.
While the statute exists in one form or another across the U.S., there are several common elements:
1. Whatever the promise one party has made to another in front of any number of witnesses, as recorded on audio or video tape or through an unsigned email, if it’s not included in the written contract, the Court will not consider it.
2. When it comes to putting it in writing, no contractual detail is too small. This does not only refer to promises prior to the closing, but to any additional promises made later. Everything must be recorded in writing and signed by both parties to be enforceable in Court.
3. Lease agreements extending beyond a 12-month period must be included in the contract as well.
What is part performance?
Part performance is considered the only exception to the statute of frauds. Under specific circumstances, the buyer can use this defense if the seller does not fulfill his or her obligation to convey the property, claiming the contract is barred by the statute of frauds.
Some instances in which the buyer can use this exception include:
– Full or partial payment of the property has been made.
– Possession of property has already been made by the buyer.
– Permanent improvements were made to the property, to which the seller had previously agreed to.
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