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Must a Contract Be in Writing to Be Enforceable?

April 19, 2016 General

Writing to Be Enforceable

Suppose you were having lunch with a prospective customer or supplier and you talked about a specific deal. You offered to perform certain tasks and you specified a price, and the other party acknowledged that those terms were acceptable. Do you have a contract? Do you have to put the terms of that oral agreement in writing for them to be enforceable?

The Statute of Frauds in Pennsylvania

As a general rule, provided that the requirements of a valid and enforceable contract are present, an agreement does not need to be in writing to be valid and enforceable. However, in Pennsylvania, as in other states, there’s a law known as the statute of frauds, which identifies those types of contracts that must be documented in writing to be upheld. Here are the specific instances in Pennsylvania when you must commit an oral agreement to writing:

  • When the contract involves the transfer of any interest in real property, including the sale or purchase of residential or commercial real estate
  • If the agreement addresses a lease of real property for a period of more than three years
  • If the contract involves the sale of goods with a value of $500 or more
  • If the agreement involves the lease of goods or personal property with a value of $1,000 or more
  • When the contract involves a guarantee, warranty or promise to answer for the debt or obligation of another person or entity
  • Contracts for the sale of personal property where the value is $5,000 or more

Contact Our Office

At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP, we have protected the rights of individuals throughout Delaware County since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online

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