Arizona Real Estate Contracts and the Statute of Frauds

December 6th, 2020 by admin Leave a reply »

General principles of Arizona contract law simply require the existence of an offer, acceptance, consideration, and sufficient specificity of the terms in order to have an enforceable contract. This is true whether or not the parties write out the terms and/or sign a written document.

This is not the case when the contract concerns the sale of real property. There, the Statute of Frauds as codified in Arizona (ARS 44-101(6)) demands that contracts for the sale of real property be written and signed in order to be enforceable.

It is important to note, however, that the Arizona courts have consistently held that only the signature of the “party to be charged” is required. In other words, the contract must be signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought but does not necessarily have to be signed by the charging party. For example, a seller of real estate who never signed the sales contract may successfully maintain an action against a buyer who did sign the contract.

The parties to an Arizona real estate contract should also remember that any amendments to the contract must also be written and signed to be enforceable. Because of the requirements of the Statute of Frauds, parties buying or selling real estate in Arizona are advised to demand written confirmation of all the terms and conditions of the real estate transaction. Frequently, agents and brokers may make representations and assurances to buyers and sellers and suggest that a written modification is unnecessary. Buyers and sellers should avoid the temptation to rely upon such assurances and ensure that all important matters are reduced to writing and signed by the other party.

Unfortunately, many Arizona real estate contracts are not written and/or signed and one or more parties find themselves with a need to seek relief from another party. If you find yourself facing such a situation you should consult with an experienced Arizona real estate lawyer as soon as possible to determine whether an exception to the Statute of Frauds might apply, or if some other legal recourse is available.

Kevin R. Harper is an Arizona real estate and business litigation attorney, representing individuals and small businesses throughout the state of Arizona from his centrally-located office at 1 N. Central Ave., Suite 1130, in downtown Phoenix.

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