Ingredients of an Enforceable Real Estate Agreement

By Brian Madigan Ll.B.

There are several essential elements of a contract:

1)      Parties, (legal capacity)

2)      Lawful object (not illegal)

3)      Intention to create contract (consideration or seal)

4)      Mutual agreement (offer and acceptance)

5)      Agreement in respect to terms (genuine intention)

6)      Agreement must be certain (definite and clear).

The above list, you will find in legal texts dealing with contract law. There are a few more issues when it comes to real estate transactions in Ontario. They must be in writing in order to comply with the Statute of Frauds.

Also, in order to be “enforceable”, they must be “definite and clear”. So, here, the Courts will look to:

1) parties, (sufficient to identify)

2) price, (capable of ascertainment)

3) description, (capable of ascertainment)

4) closing date, (capable of ascertainment)

Without these items being clear, the contract is one in form only. It looks like a contract, but there are some basic essential terms that are missing and the Courts will simply fail to enforce the agreement for lack of certainty. The Courts will not re-write the agreement on behalf of the parties.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

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