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Finders And The Statute Of Frauds – Real Estate

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Section 1624 of the California Civil Code specifies a number of
agreements that are invalid unless they, or some “note or
memorandum thereof”, are in writing and signed by the party to
be charged or the party’s agent. One of the agreements
specified in the statute is “an agreement authorizing or
employing an agent, broker, or any other person to purchase or sell
real estate, or to lease real estate for a longer period than one
year, or to procure, introduce, or find a purchaser or seller of
real estate or a lessee or lessor of real estate where the lease is
for a longer period than one year, for compensation or a
commission”.

Denise Tukes claimed that she was entitled to a finder’s fee
in connection with a sale of real property. Section 1624 and the
want of a written agreement seemingly doomed her case. The Court of
Appeal, however, found that Ms. Tukes could avail herself of an
exception:

We are satisfied that Tukes has alleged sufficient investment of
time and effort in reliance on the Bennett Trustee’s alleged
promise to plead estoppel.

Tukes v. Richard, 2022 WL 2680072.

The Court of Appeal’s exception may actually swallow the
whole. The purpose of the Statute of Frauds is to prevent
fraudulent claims by requiring more reliable evidence in the form
of a writing and a signature. Following Tukes, a plaintiff
need only allege that he or she worked “really hard”
based on alleged oral promise in order to claim a finder’s
fee.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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