Scottsbluff, NE asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Nebraska

Q: 3 years ago my father in law bought my husband and I a house we agreed to pay it back over 3 years

Fast forward 3 years we paid it off with him and he is refusing to give us the deed and hold up his side of the deal. He is trying to change our deal and kick us out. What can we do?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Julie Fowler
Julie Fowler
  • Omaha, NE
  • Licensed in Nebraska

A: Under contract law, most of the time the Court can enforce a contract even if the terms are not written down (oral contract). There are exceptions to this. Sometimes when the Court finds that there is an enforceable oral contract it is still up to the Court to determine what exactly the terms are in an oral contract when the parties disagree.

Under property law, the contract for sale of real estate generally has to have written terms in order to be enforceable by the Court. Thus, the Court generally won't find that a property has been "sold" unless the agreement is in writing.

Whether the Court can assist you in enforcing your agreement while likely depend in part as to how much of your agreement is in writing, if any. Even if the Court finds that you don't meet the requirements to have the Court force the sale of the real estate to you, there are other theories in equity or contract law that might give you some relief. For example, under the theory of unjust enrichment, the Court might find that you are still entitled to some money damages even if the Court finds that it can't award you the real estate. You would need to speak with an attorney about the specifics of your situation to see what your options may be.

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