What is the Statute of Frauds In Florida?
The statute of frauds provides that certain types of contracts are not valid and cannot be enforced unless they are in writing and signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought. Fla. Stat. '725.01 Specific performance of a contract governed by a statute of frauds will not be ordered if the contract does not fulfill the statute's requirements. Wolfson v. Moye, 214 So. 2d 629, 631 (Fla. 3d DCA 1968).
To satisfy the statute of frauds, and therefore to justify enforcement by specific performance, a contract for the sale of real property must contain in writing all the essential terms of the sale; these terms may not be explained by resort to parol evidence. Fox v. Sails at Laguna Club Development Corp., 403 So. 2d 456, 458 (Fla. 3d DCA 1981) (specific performance refused where written agreement omitted terms of and time for payment).
Oral agreements for the sale of real property have been specifically enforced when the purchaser has been given possession of the property and has either paid part of the purchase price or has made valuable and permanent improvements to the property. Poinciana Properties v. Englander Triangle, Inc., 437 So. 2d 214, 215 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983); Avery v. Marine Bank & Trust Company, 216 So. 2d 251, 253 (Fla. 2d DCA 1968). However, one court, citing the statute of frauds, refused specific enforcement of an oral land contract even though the plaintiff had possession and had made improvements. Redd v. Talley, 584 So. 2d 616, 617 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991). In another case, the Fourth District has allowed a claim to real estate to proceed on the basis of an alleged exchange as consideration for an employment agreement. Brodie v. All Corp., 876 So. 2d 577 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004) (because the employee allegedly fulfilled her part of the oral residence contract related to her employment, the statute of frauds did not bar the claim on the real property).
The statute of frauds provides that certain kinds of contracts are not valid and are, therefore, unenforceable unless they are in writing and signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought (sale of goods over $500), (sale of personal property over $5000), (land conveyances), (promise to pay debt of another). Fla. Stat. '725.01. The sale of securities is no longer subject to the statute of frauds. Fla. Stat., '678.319 However, the statute of frauds will not prevent reformation that requires adding provisions to the contract that were never reduced to writing but were agreed to orally. Miley v. Miley, 402 So. 2d 557, 558 (Fla. 2d DCA 1981) ; Gennaro v. Leeper, 313 So. 2d 70, 72 (Fla. 2d DCA 1975) (statute of frauds is no bar to reformation of land contract). The rationale supporting this conclusion is that by adding the oral agreements to the written contract, the entire contract is then in writing and the statute of frauds ceases to be an obstacle to the contract's enforcement as reformed. See Miley v. Miley, 402 So. 2d 557, 558 (Fla. 2d DCA 1981).