Contracts for the sale of land—formation, signature and variation

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Contracts for the sale of land—formation, signature and variation
  • Introduction
  • Exceptions to LP(MP)A 1989, s 2
  • Contracts must be in writing
  • Contracts must contain or incorporate all the terms agreed by the parties
  • Incorporating other documents and terms into the contract
  • Using standard conditions
  • Marking correspondence ‘subject to contract’
  • Entire agreement clauses
  • Contracts must be signed by the parties
  • More...

Contracts for the sale of land—formation, signature and variation

Introduction

A contract for the sale, or other disposition, of an interest in land is void unless it complies with section 2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 (LP(MP)A 1989). This provides that it must:

  1. be in writing

  2. contain or incorporate all of the terms expressly agreed by the parties in one document or, where contracts are exchanged, in each, and

  3. be signed by or on behalf of each of the parties to it

The application of LP(MP)A 1989, s 2 is most commonly encountered in the context of:

  1. contracts for the sale and purchase of land

  2. agreements for lease (although note the exception for short leases below)

  3. agreements for surrender

  4. variations of contracts for the sale and purchase of land, agreements for lease or agreements for surrender

However, LP(MP)A 1989, s 2 applies to any agreement for the disposition of any interest in land. (‘Interest in land’ is defined in LP(MP)A 1989, s 2(6) as ‘any estate, interest or charge in or over land’ and disposition has the same meaning as in section 205 of the Law of Property Act 1925 (LPA 1925).)

This means that the requirements of LP(MP)A 1989, s 2 also need to be considered in respect of, for example:

  1. option agreements; see Options and pre-emption rights—overview

  2. rights of pre-emption; see Practice Note:

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