Definition of "Lawful object"

Darren Davis real estate agent
Darren Davis, Real Estate Agent Engel & Volkers

As one of the principles of contract, the lawful object meaning can be defined as an object or action which is authorized, approved, and not prohibited by law. A contract to be legal requires legally competent parties, mutual consent, a lawful object, and acceptable consideration. The concept of a lawful object also implies an ethical quality in that the object under consideration is not only legal; it is also ethical and acceptable by society at large. 

So what is a lawful object?

The lawful object definition is something that is legal, implying that something that is illegal can not be the object of a contract. For example, by this definition, a contract to sell a stolen car is a voidable contract from the beginning, as is it illegal to sell a stolen car. Because of this, we can say that a lawful object can not be a crime. For more information regarding lawful objects in legal contracts, we suggest contacting a lawyer or a real estate attorney.

What do you mean by a Lawful Object in Real Estate?

A real estate contract requires certain elements in order to be valid, much like most other contracts. One of these elements is the lawful object or legal purpose. While the agreement can also be verbal, if it does not have lawful objective real estate, it can be voided by the courts. The object of a contract or agreement is its purpose or design. If the purpose of the contract is illegal, the contract can be voided.

The parties involved can not enter into a contract to do illegality or crime during a real estate transaction. The object of a real estate contract must adhere to the law and not restrict the enforcement of the law. This is why a contract signed between two parties that dabble in real estate fraud can not be legal if the purpose of the contract is fraudulent. Similar to the example involving a car from above, a contract to sell a house that is not legally yours is voided because you can not sell a property that does not legally belong to you.

Another principle that can void a contract is an illegal consideration.

Example of Contract Voided based on the requirement of Lawful Object

If a person is struggling to meet their mortgage payments while also dealing with other financial obligations, they might be tempted to declare bankruptcy, transfer the property to the mortgage broker and defraud their other creditors. Such a transfer is illegal, and the courts will void the contract created for the purpose.


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Comments for Lawful Object

Jerry Frank Jerry Frank said:

Can a real estate sales contract be voided because the owner refuses to correct a modified staircase that no longer is in compliance to building codes.

Jun 23, 2021  14:01:14

Real Estate Agent

Hey Jerry! Thank you for reaching out to us. While building code violations can differ from one state to another, and you should check with your local real estate agents or real estate attorneys, in general, such a situation can void a contract. For example, if the buyer was informed of the modified staircase or the issue was discovered by an inspector, the seller could correct the modification. At the same time, they can choose not to, and the buyer can go through with the purchase. In this situation, a renegotiation should occur as the amount needed for the repairs should be excluded from the established price. However, the buyer can renege on the contract, which can cause the cancellation of the contract.

Jun 25, 2021  12:33:51

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