Are Verbal Contracts Enforceable?

When you and another person verbally agree to do something, you may have created a verbal contract. Whether or not the contract was created depends upon the subject matter and several other factors. Our blog explains verbal contracts and whether or not they are enforceable.

What Is a Verbal Contract?

A verbal contract is when you and another party make an agreement while speaking. Essentially, it’s like giving your word that you intend to do something. However, a verbal contract isn’t that simple. You must ensure that the contract is legally binding.

What Makes a Verbal Contract Legally Binding?

First of all, you can only make verbal contracts about certain types of transactions. For example, in Florida, any contracts regarding the sale of real estate or contracts that cannot be performed within one year need to be in writing. While these types of verbal agreements are not legally enforceable in Florida, laws vary by state and they may be enforceable elsewhere.

Second, verbal contracts must be created in such a way such that they are as legally binding as a written contract. This means the contract must:

  • Have a clear offer and acceptance,
  • Be for a legal transaction,
  • Offer a clear and legal trade between the two parties,
  • Have specific terms, and
  • Be agreed upon while both parties are of sound mind.

How Do You Enforce a Verbal Contract?

Enforcing a verbal contract can be quite difficult. Because everything regarding the contract was spoken and not written, it can be challenging to get both parties to agree on what was said and promised. This disagreement about “evidence” of the contract turns the whole situation into a he-said-she-said debate.

If an agreement about the contract cannot be reached, or if the terms are not provable otherwise, it makes it almost impossible for a judge to rule. Therefore, these cases don’t tend to go far when one party has failed to uphold their end of a verbal contract. This is another reason why it’s in your best interest to get a written contract drafted and signed. With a written contract to support your verbal contract, both parties can be certain of the terms, even after a number of months or years have passed.

Do You Have Questions about Contracts?

If you have any questions about verbal or written contracts, Cove Law can help. Our business law experts are ready to answer your questions and give you advice regarding your contracts. Let us help you. Give us a call today at (954) 921-1121 or contact us online.

Written by Andrew Cove

Cove Law has significant experience defending federal investigations and formal actions by the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Finance Protection Board and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as similar matters on the state level by the respective state Attorney General’s Offices and other local agencies.