Not all agreements have to be in writing to be enforceable. But some do.
What Is a Contract?
A “contract” between two parties is essentially an agreement. While people can agree to pretty much anything, for a contract to be enforceable by law, it must meet certain requirements. These requirements are:
1. The parties must be competent (of sound mind) and legally able to contract (generally, 18 years or older).
2. Mutual assent or agreement by the parties. This is sometimes referred to as a “meeting of the minds.” It means that they must both understand what they are agreeing to and that they must both freely consent to it.
2. All Material terms – the terms of the agreement should be clearly defined and unambiguous. While this does not always happen, nevertheless to be enforceable, an agreement must contain all the material (or important) terms of the agreement—like price, timing and conditions of payment.
4. Adequate Consideration – this means that each party must give something of value to the other.
5. Cannot Violate Public Policy – if an agreement is illegal, for example, two people agree to commit fraud or break the law, it will not be enforceable by the courts.
If all of these elements are met, then the agreement will be enforceable. This includes purely “oral” agreements.
However, there are some agreements that must contain all of the above requirements and one more—they must also be in writing to be enforceable.
Statute of Frauds
The Statute of Frauds is a statute (law) that requires that certain contracts be in writing in order to be enforceable.
There are a number of agreements that must be in writing to be enforceable. For example, an agreement to pay another’s debts or to lend someone money must be in writing to be enforceable. So, if “A” promises “C” that he will pay “B’s” debt to C, and then never does, if the agreement is not in writing, C is out of luck. He cannot enforce A’s promise.
Because land is unique in the eyes of the law, and due to the importance of property ownership, in Georgia, “[a]ny contract for sale of lands, or any interest in, or concerning lands” must be in writing to be enforceable.
Every real estate transaction and every interest in property is important. If you are buying or selling land, be sure to get your agreement in writing.
Experienced Real Estate Counsel In Georgia
Important rights need to be protected. And when you need to protect your real estate interests, you want experienced real estate counsel. We are a real estate firm with offices in Cumming, Georgia and we serve Atlanta and the surrounding counties. To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or you can contact us here.