What do we do regarding a rent-t-own situation?

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What do we do regarding a rent-t-own situation?

We have a property in FL and made a gentleman’s agreement with my brother so that he could rent-to-own it. His girlfriend lived on the property with him but now she has an injunction against him where he can’t come onto the property. She is trying to take the property and all completely away from him. I feel we should sign it to both of them as she did pay her money in too. My husband disagrees, he says we made the deal with my brother not her. Now we don’t know what to do. We are really regretting not having something legal drawn up from the get go but since it was between family members we felt it would be OK.

Asked on March 20, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Speak to a local real estate attorney: you need legal help. As a general matter, owing to what is traditionally called the "Statute of Frauds," an agreement to buy/sell real estate *must* be in writing to be enforceable: while there some exceptions (involving when the purchaser has already paid some of the purchase price and/or made valuable improvements to the property), those are the exceptions--the fundamental rule is that oral agreements to purchase real estate are not enforceable by the courts. Therefore, it is possible that your "gentleman's agreement" may not be binding, and if it is, it may be an uphill battle to enforce it. You need to consult with an experienced  FL real estate attorey who can go over all the facts of this situation in depth with you.


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