Skip to main content

How binding is a verbal contract in the state of Montana?

Bozeman, MT |

Did a rent to own with a couple. They were suppose to have a deposit and didn't have it by the time they said they would. They said they would have it in a couple more month. Time Went by and still nothing. Talk to them and came to a verbal agreement they would have it by a certain time along with a buy/sell agreement. They came up with some of it but not all and no buy/sell. Didn't sign anything but it was a verbal contract. How binding is it in the state of Montana?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. There's a law that every state has called "statute of frauds" that requires some kinds of contracts to be in writing, and they can't be oral. One of those kinds of contacts is contracts to sell real estate. Another is a contract that can't be performed within a year. This contract may be both of those.

    These restrictions are because real estate is unique, and it's usually very expensive. The 1 year rule is because people's memories are bad do it's too risky to rely on oral contracts.

    There are wrinkles and exceptions to these kinds of contracts too, like when they're partially performed and there's reliance and a change of postition by a party seeking to enforce an oral contract.

    So all this means is that you need to see a business lawyer to do over all the details, because there's no simple answer.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.


  2. Attorney Koslyn is correct, MT has a statute of frauds requiring a writing for real estate deals. Even a lease for longer than one year requires a writing. You have done a poor job of pretending to be a realtor or landlord. And it is not clear which. You now need to see a lawyer to sort out the situation as soon as possible. Anything to do with real estate, even a rental, should be in writing.

    DISCLAIMER: The forgoing comment is for general educational purposes only, and is not legal advice upon which the reader may rely as the commenter has no actual knowledge of the facts of the case, has not interviewed persons or examined evidence, and has not researched the applicable law. The comment is based only on the facts provided, which are extremely limited, and may or may not be true. Complete defenses may prevent the success of any claim. Competent legal advice should always be obtained before taking any legal action or filing suit. Readers employ any information provided herein at their own risk.