In Zimbabwe an oral agreement is as valid as a written agreement. In fact the majority of low value contracts entered into are oral. It is however important to reduce a contract to writing to easily prove the existence of the contract and the terms thereof. Apart from meeting the requirements of a valid contract there are some certain basic aspects which should appear in an agreement and this task is better left to a legal practitioner so that the agreement is to some extent watertight;
- The names of the parties:- the names of the parties as they appear on their identity particulars should be stated. Also include the date of birth, ID number, address and possibly phone number.
- The property:- the property should be fully described so as to leave no doubt as to what is being sold. If it is an immovable property, the property should be described as it appears on the title deed, council or other documents. With vehicles include the model, make, chassis number and registration number. The bottom line is the parties should be clear as to what is being sold.
- The purchase price:- the purchase price should be clearly stated including the mode of payment. Parties should however be aware of the provisions of the Finance Act (as amended) with regard to the Zimbabwe dollar being the sole legal tender in Zimbabwe while at the same time bearing in mind the fact that the true value of the property should be protected.
- The breach clause:- parties should clearly state in their agreement what happens in the event of breach by either party.
- Occupation/ possession and transfer/cession:- the agreement should specify the date of occupation/possession of the thing sold and the period within which cession/ transfer should take place.
- Passing of risk:-it is important to state what happens in the event of accidental damage of the property subject of the sale. If the contract is silent on this aspect the common law risk rule will apply.
- Dispute resolution:- parties may provide for how disputes will be resolved. In the same breath parties may also agree on the jurisdiction of say the Magistrates Court in their agreement.
- Whole agreement clause:- this clause makes the written agreement the exclusive evidence of what was agreed between the parties.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the aspects that should be covered in an agreement of sale. As stated in the introduction, it is advisable to approach a legal practitioner to draft the agreement to make sure that everything is captured in the right words.
The contents of this article are for general information purposes only and do not constitute our legal or professional advice. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein.
Copyright © Marume & Furidzo Legal Practitioners 2020