Definition of "Null and void"

Michael Hall real estate agent
Michael Hall, Real Estate Agent William Raveis Real Estate

In legal terms, the definition of null and void (“void ab initio”) can describe an agreement that has no force or binding power. Therefore, it’s neither valid nor legally enforceable from the moment of its inception. Additionally, the parties can’t be held responsible for the terms incorporated in the contract. A typical real-life example is an unlawful clause in an argument, such as prohibiting the rental of property based on sex, race, or religion. However, exceptional rental markets in the US, respect the principles of human decency.

One should make a difference between a void and a voidable contract. The first one has never been legally binding and, thus, can’t be enforced at any future moment. Voidable contracts can lawfully still be enforced once legal irregularities therein are fixed.

Factors nullifying a void contract

What makes a contract null and void? There can be several reasons why an agreement is nullified. Suppose clauses unlawful in nature have been added to the contract. Furthermore, the agreement‘s object and scope can violate the principles of fairness, integrity, or public policy. For instance, a corporation harms a government antitrust law on labor abuse or environmental protection. Then, the courts shall nullify these void contracts.

The terms stipulated in a contract are often too ambiguous to fully comprehend or beyond the bounds of possibility to accomplish. Then, the parties involved may not understand the agreement’s meaning and implications. For instance, an intellectually disabled individual can’t comprehend the clauses within the contract, thus rendering the contract null and void. 

By default, contracts containing a fraudulent misrepresentation of facts are null and void.

Null and void contracts in real estate 

A real estate contract between a property seller and a buyer must conform with state regulations. It is binding in nature only after all parties meet every real estate contingency stipulated in the agreement. If either the buyer or the seller ignores carrying out a condition of sale, the contract is void.

Various reasons can cause a real estate contract to go south.

Buyer’s sale contingency

One of them is buyer’s sale contingency. It is a clause in the contract protecting a buyer’s wishes to sell their previous home before closing on the new property. The home acquisition moves forward if the buyer can sell by a specific date. Otherwise, the buyer is free to leave the new house purchase behind⁠.

Financial contingency

The house buyer must find a mortgage broker or lender to finalize a real estate contract. For this, they receive a specific period to apply for a loan. As previously mentioned, a homebuyer enjoys certain advantages, such as establishing interest-rate limits. If they can’t secure a loan, the real estate contract is void and null, and they can receive their deposit back. The same rule applies if the mortgage lender discovers that the real estate is worth less than the mortgaged amount.


Non-disclosure can also be a deal-breaker. The seller agrees to disclose all known property problems at the listing. Sellers must disclose many property issues, such as structural defects or legal matters. Not informing a buyer about toxic waste under the real estate is non-disclosure. It can result in a null and void contract. A non-disclosed easement argument will also affect the agreement. Additionally, the settlement is invalid once the seller proves not to be the genuine property titleholder.

A catastrophic house inspection

Local real estate agents recommend buyers hire a professional home inspector to conduct a thorough investigation of the new property. The seller can cover some of the expenses for repairs. Suppose the house inspection reveals severe defects, such as infestation, fungus, mold, or lead-based paint. Secondly, the homeowner chooses not to pay for the repairs. The buyer can then default on the contract. Thus, the covenant is null and void.

Also, making a will in real estate is essential. When a person in question doesn’t respect specific provisions, their real estate will is most definitely null and void.


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Comments for Null And Void

Melanie Noble Melanie Noble said:

I'm looking for a house to buy, 4 Bedrooms, 2+ Bathrooms, Affordable, Spacious, Well lit neighborhood (gated perhaps), walking distance of grocerie stores, gas station, etc. School District, I'm looking to owning a home. So please, help me or point me in the right direction... Thank you & I'm looking forward to hearing back from someone. Have a wonderful night !

Mar 29, 2021  01:53:55

Real Estate Agent

Hey, Melanie! Thank you for reaching out to us! Are you interested in owning property in New Jersey? If that is the case, we have an extensive list of real estate agents in New Jersey who can help you find the home you are looking for. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly via live chat or by calling us (1-866-495-4953), and we will point you out in the right direction.

Mar 30, 2021  13:59:03
Steven Branecky Steven Branecky said:

Why would the taxes on a listing on a property be listed as null and void?

Nov 11, 2020  19:01:20

Real Estate Agent

Hey, Steven! There are multiple reasons as to why taxes might be null and void on a listing. Some states have taxes in place that do not apply in other states, or some fees are not set in stone, and they might vary from one service provider to another. However, if you are interested in negotiating to lower closing costs, some fees are fixed while others allow for some negotiation. I hope this was useful!

Nov 16, 2020  07:21:37
Dixie Dixie said:

Can you change your mind after purchasing a house? Is there a time period after sale of a house you purchased in Alabama?

Oct 01, 2020  01:12:29

Real Estate Agent

Hey, Dixie! Thank you for your question. You can, but only certain types of mortgages allow you to change your mind after you have signed the closing documents. These types of mortgages are usually non-purchase money mortgages, and it is called the right of rescission. For example, refinancing or home equity loans are two types of non-money purchase mortgages that give you the right to change your mind in three business days. As far as I'm concerned, except for the state of New Jersey, once you sign a contract for a home purchase, there is no turning back unless it is explicitly stated in the contract. This problem occurs quite often and agents have to deal with clients experiencing buyer's remorse. Make sure you check with a real estate attorney or real estate agent in Alabama for more details.

Oct 02, 2020  04:11:01
Sharry Sharry said:

What does it mean when a property price is null

Apr 17, 2020  21:42:03

Real Estate Agent

Hey, Sherry! Can you provide more context? Where did you encounter this expression? Null can be something that is not valid or canceled out. Maybe it means the property is no longer available for sale.

Apr 21, 2020  08:07:23

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