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Can an oral agreement to rent to own a home be broken because the sellers/landlords changed their minds?

Fayette, AL |

My husband and I recently made an oral agreement with a couple to rent to own their property in our town. The couple selling the house currently live in a different state from the property in question. Price and terms were discussed briefly and agreed upon by both parties. A month after my family moved into property, we were informed that the couple had changed their minds because of failure to make a payment, however according my understanding of the terms the payment was not late. The couple is now asking that we show the property to potential buyers. I would like to know what my legal rights are as far as our oral agreement with the couple and also are we required by law to show this house to potential buyers because the current owners live out of state?
Thank yo

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

"Rent to Own" a Home is in essence an Installment Contract to Make a Deed. Because it involves the purchase of land, it MUST be in writing to be enforceable by you. Without a written contract you have, at best, an oral month to month lease. Either you, or your landlord can terminate your oral lease with 30 days notice. Since it appears your landlord is intent on selling the property, I'd be looking for another place to live; unless you are willing (and able) to obtain financing and purchase the home outright.


Under no circumstances do you rent a property without it being in writing. A judge has no way to know the truth of what was agreed to in the agreement. Get it in writing or move to another place with a written lease. You are not going to get a judge to believe you agreed to make the biggest purchase you make in your life, and you have nothing in writing.

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