Westside Estate Agency, Inc. v. Randall

A broker’s agreement to negotiate the purchase or sale of real property falls within the statute of frauds and must be in writing.  Civ. Code 1624(a)(4) requires a broker’s agreement to buy or sell real property to be in writing.  Here, plaintiff broker did not obtain a written agreement when he negotiated, for a friend, the purchase of a $45 million property in Beverly Hills.  A licensed broker, like the plaintiff in this case, cannot assert the client is equitably estopped from relying on the statute of frauds absent actual fraud by the client in saying he has executed the written broker agreement.  No such claim of fraud was made here.  The broker may also recover if the client ratifies an oral broker agreement in writing or if the client enters into a written contract for purchase of the property and payment of the commission and then reneges.  Neither of those occurred in this case.  The broker’s efforts to avoid the statute of frauds all fail, and his suit for a commission was properly dismissed.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 2 (Hoffstadt, J.); December 1, 2016; 2016 WL 7011334

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