Conditional contract

Conditional contract
See also

Conditional contract (also known as hypothetical contract) is a contract agreement that can be enforceable only if and when certain conditions are met. If the specified time passes, the contract is invalid. The condition can be also a performance of another agreement. The contract remains conditional until these required conditions are not fulfilled. After that, the contract becomes unconditional and the parties need to carry out the terms of it. This usually means that a buyer must buy and the seller must sell. Conditions can be incorporate by both a seller and a buyer and they need to be clear and precise [1].

When conditional contract should be used and when it should not[edit]

Conditional contract may be used when there are obligations that have to fulfilled or certain doubts about another party. However, parties should consider not entering into a conditional agreement and wait for the completing of formalities instead of making an agreement in the early stage. Besides, if there is another unconditional contract connected to the sale, making a conditional contract can be risky. If the unconditional contract is breached, it can cause a problem with fulfilling the conditional contract which can be delayed or even also breached[2].

Common conditions[edit]

The most common conditions are[3]:

  • regulatory - one of the parties have to receive some permissions or licences (such as a premises licence),
  • connected agreements - a conditional agreement can depend on another agreement (for example, a seller needs to wait for finalizing a contract),
  • planning permission - a buyer may want to have a planning permission in order to feel safe about legality of the property.

Advantages and disadvantages of conditional contract[edit]

In certain scenarios conditional contract may be beneficial for both a seller and a buyer. When the buyer incorporates conditions, he can protect himself from a danger of a seller not fulfilling the agreement on time. On the other hand, the buyer has time to collecting money or some other necessary resources. But it can be a trouble for the seller because he needs to wait for the selling and he misses an opportunity to sell the property to another buyer. If it is the seller who incorporates conditions, he has time for fulfilling necessary obligations before the selling but the buyer has to wait for the performance of the agreement[4][5].

Option agreement[edit]

A specific type of conditional contract is option agreement. In this agreement a party can buy a property in a particular amount of time. The buyer can also not buy this property. If he misses the deadline, the option is invalid and then everything is as before the option contract [6].


  1. M. Furmston, G. J. Tolhurst 2010
  2. K. Nightingale 2002
  3. M. Furmston, G. J. Tolhurst 2010
  4. M. Furmston, G. J. Tolhurst 2010
  5. M. Furmston, G. J. Tolhurst 2010
  6. K. J.Haupt, D. L. Rockwell 2006, p. 147-148


Author: Adrian Poprawa