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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22320
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Hi there just wandering if you can tell me ..... we recently

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Hi there just wandering if you can tell me ..... we recently negotiated the price of a house with the seller through a realestate agent. The agreement was all drawn up and signed by us, but the seller was out of town at the time and gave his word to the realestate agent that the agreement would be signed on him returning. We were given a letter to take to the bank to say that the agreement would be signed on sellers return. On the day he was to return home and sign he told the agent that he was no longer selling as he had someone to rent it. I am aware that a document is not valid until signed but the thing is had he have been in his home time the agreement wouldve been signed? Do we have a leg to stand on? Thanks

Chris The Lawyer :

Hi and welcome. My first response will follow shortly. Please feel free to follow up if anything is not clear.

Chris The Lawyer :

The requirement for any purchase of land is that it must be in writing, and until the offer was actually accepted by the seller, by signing the document, there is no contract

Chris The Lawyer :

Clearly this seller is unreliable and has mucked you about, but until his signature is on the contract, there is nothing you can do.

Chris The Lawyer :

For your reference the Property Law Act says

Chris The Lawyer :
24Contracts for disposition of land not enforceable unless in writing




  • (1)A contract for the disposition of land is not enforceable by action unless—




    • (a)the contract is in writing or its terms are recorded in writing; and






    • (b)the contract or written record is signed by the party against whom the contract is sought to be enforced.






    (2)In this section, disposition does not include—




    • (a)a short-term lease; or






    • (b)a sale of land by order of a court or through the Registrar.






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