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Legal Memorandum: Part Performance Doctrine

Issue: Does part performance of a rental agreement serve to remove the agreement from the statute of frauds?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Real Estate Law
Keywords: Part-performance doctrine; Oral lease agreement; Statute of Frauds
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 262 F. Supp. 36
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 09/01/2007

Part-performance doctrine will take an oral lease agreement out of the statute of frauds.  See Sylvester v. Frydenhoj Estates Corp., No. DC App 2003-89 (D.V.I. App. Div. June 8, 2006); Henderson v. Resevic, 6 V.I. 196, 262 F. Supp. 36 (D.V.I. 1967).  The part performance doctrine “serves to protect the individual who has performed acts pursuant to and in obvious reliance upon a verbal agreement, all with the knowledge and consent of the promisor.”  Estate of Pitterson, 40 V.I. 13, 17-18 (Terr. Ct. 1998).

The relevant cases in this area plainly imply that there may be defenses where the dispute involves oral leases.  See Inter Car Corp., 21 V.I. at 159 (making express references to “oral or written leases”).

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