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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22816
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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We have a draft written agreement to purchase a property that

Customer Question

We have a draft written agreement to purchase a property that is a written version of what was verbally agreed between us the purchaser and the vendor. The vendors lawyer sent us an email that the vendor had agreed to sell based on this agreement. We were waiting on the paperwork for 6 months, we have possession of the property.
One clause in the agreement says we will contribute $20,000 to the cost of the subdivision. We paid that. But now the vendor doesn't want to sell.
Does our agreement hold?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We have also been paying a monthly amount based on the 3% vendor finance rate, for the last six months.
This amount is well in excess of what you might pay for lease land in this area.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
If you have a contract for the sale of land, this must be in writing and must be signed by both parties. In some cases where there has been an exchange of emails this may be sufficient to constitute an offer and acceptance in writing but you would need to carefully look at the documents which you have together with the emails. This is one area where you should always get good legal advice to draft the contracts before you pay any money. So if the documents are enforceable, which is difficult for me to tell from what you have described, then you can get what is called specific performance by an order of the court. This is an order that the vendor perform the contract or pay damages, and if you chose the second remedy, you could require return of all money you have spent and paid for the subdivision. In view of the amount at stake, I strongly suggest you take this to your lawyer to review the contract to see if it is enforceable. If it is enforceable then you do have remedies.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for you reply.
Does the fact that we have paid money as per the agreement mean anything in terms of the agreement coming into effect?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
The payment of the money is certainly something which will help in the agreement coming into force, but the fundamental problem is section 24 of the Property Law Act which says:-24 Contracts 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.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
You need to consider the documents you have prepared, in the context of section 24. If they do not comply under that section, you are likely to be able to recover your money, but you may not be able to enforce the contract by specific performance

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