When is a verbal contract legal in Florida?
Verbal agreements can be legally binding in Florida, under two conditions.
First, all of the elements of a normal contract must be in place, and second, you must be able to prove that there was an oral agreement in the first place.
The elements of a legal contract
For any agreement to be valid and enforceable there must have been an offer and an acceptance thereof. The acceptance is in exchange for something with value, such as services, goods or money.
However, when illegal goods are involved, one of the parties to the contract is a minor or one of the parties is mentally impaired, the contract would not be enforceable, whether it is verbal or written.
Some contracts need to be written down
Under Florida law, some contracts must be in writing. If any of the following contracts are entered into verbally, it is not legal in Florida and therefore not binding on the parties.
• Real estate contracts
• A newspaper subscription
• A guarantee for some else’s debt
• A lease of more than one year
• When the value of goods purchased is worth more than $500
• A special promise made by a person in answer to a misdeed
Proof that there was a verbal contract
This is where it gets tricky. In the case of a dispute, you need proof that there was a contract in the first place.
If it was a verbal agreement, It is a situation of one person’s word against the other.
Who can be believed? If in doubt and you do have a choice, always get something in writing. A written contract can be scrutinized and picked apart and it helps to eliminate disputes quickly. It is always preferable.
But, now you’ve done it. You’ve entered into a verbal contract. What can you do?
Proof of a verbal contract
You can prove a verbal contract if you can proof
• that you’ve performed under the terms thereof,
• that a payment was made or
• if you’ve got witnesses or
• later written communications that underscore the earlier verbal agreement.
If John offered verbally to buy Susan’s bicycle for $200 and she accepted, the elements of a contract are present. So, if Susan gives her bicycle to John, but is not paid, she can seek to enforce the verbal contract if she has an email from John asking for her banking details, or if her mother was present during the initial conversation and the verbal offering.
The statute of limitation on a verbal contract
You have to file a suit to enforce a verbal contract within four years of it happening.
Do you need help with an oral contract that you have entered into? Is the other party is not doing what he said he would do? Proving a verbal contract can sure be complicated.
Kimberly Schultz can help you. She’s got years of experience and she will help fight for your rights. Schedule a consultation with us as soon as possible.