Is a verbal agreement between landlord and tenant binding?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Is a verbal agreement between landlord and tenant binding?

Our landlord, a relative, promised to never
sell the house we rent from her. Days ago she
notified us by text she is selling the house
and the realtor sign was in the yard two days

Asked on November 3, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, an oral agreement ("oral," not "verbal," is the correct term) like you describe is not enforceable for several reasons.
First, it is not actually an agreement or contract, because you are not giving her anything in exchange for the promise (your rent is paid to stay there each month, and is not for the promise that she will not sell). Unless you give the other side something of value for their promise, it is not an enforceable contact.
Second, under section 1335.05 of the Ohio Revised Code (the statutory laws of your state), certain agreements must be in writing to be enforceable, including ones that affect ownership of real estate or any interest in real estate (such as an agreement to essentially let you rent, or have a possessory interest, indefinitely) or which cannot be performed within one year (and an agreement to never sell the house is something that cannot be performed in one year). So since it was an oral promise, it is not enforceable for that reason, either.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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