Is a verbal agreement considered a contract?

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Is a verbal agreement considered a contract?

Leasing agent verbally promised us a unit. Flew cross country to view it, leasing agent said current tenant refused to let her show it to me, couldn’t give me details on the unit and promised me pictures and told me deposit could wait. Have emails promising pictures. never sent pictures when promised and gave apartment away the day she promised me pictures. When I contacted her she claimed my children were an issue. Contact management and now she denies she ever said that and denies she refused my deposit.

Asked on April 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You have a few issues here. Generally interests in real estate - including leases - have to be in writing to be valid other wise they violate what is known as the statute of frauds.  In Pennsylvannia, the statute of frauds governing real estate leases has been further codified in Pennsylvania’s Landlord-Tenant Act at 68 P.S. § 250.202. That section provides that a purported oral lease for a period greater than three years has no greater force than a tenancy at will, terminable at any time by either party unless the tenancy has already continued for more than one year, with both landlord and tenant recognizing its rightful existence by claiming and admitting liability for rent, in which case the tenancy is construed as a year-to-year lease. 
The facts in your case may or may not support the statute here.  Now, there also comes the problem that you will have to prove a contract - meeting of the minds and the exact terms (rent, length, etc.).  I would speak with an attorney.  Good luck.
 


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