There are several elements that are important for analyzing any legal agreement. Firstly, much attention should be paid to the rights and responsibilities of each side. Secondly, it is critical to identify the conditions under which this agreement can be enforced in court. These issues can be better illustrated by examining a specific example of a contract. This essay will discuss a contract signed by the owner of a house and a tenant. In particular, one should identify the elements that make this document legally binding. Furthermore, the paper will describe the actions that each party can take if the terms of the contract are violated. Overall, a person should clearly understand the duties that he/she assumes by signing the agreement; otherwise, he/she may sustain significant losses.
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The Parties of the Agreement and Its Subject Matter
The purpose of this document was to outline the arrangement between the owner of the house and the person who wanted to rent this building for at least six months. These parties were described as the landlord and the tenant. According to this agreement, the landlord was obliged to place the house at the disposal of the tenant in return for a certain payment. In particular, the tenant had to put down the deposit and make monthly payments.
This agreement specified other duties that each party had to perform. For instance, the tenant was supposed to exercise care and ensure that the property of the owner was not damaged. In his turn, the landlord was responsible for completing the necessary repairs and making the house free from any hazards. At this point, it is vital to explain why neither the owner nor the tenant can unilaterally cancel this contract.
The Elements of a Binding Contract
Five elements are required for making an agreement legally binding, and each of them was present in the arrangement made by the tenant and the landlord. Firstly, one should speak about the offer or a promise to do something in exchange for certain payments or other tangible benefits (Rogers & Kauffman, 2012). In this case, the proposal was first communicated by the landlord when he placed an advertisement for his house.
Later, he confirmed his offer by signing the contract with the tenant. Secondly, an agreement can be enforced if there is acceptance of the expression of one’s readiness and willingness to meet the conditions of the offer (Rogers & Kauffman, 2012). The acceptance was expressed by the tenant when he signed the lease contract.
It is also necessary to mention consideration as a component of an enforceable contract (Rogers & Kauffman, 2012). This concept can be defined as the mutual obligation to give something of value in return for receiving specific tangible benefits such as financial compensation, goods, housing, and so forth (Rogers & Kauffman, 2012). If only one party is expected to give something valuable, the contract is not binding. This lease contract included consideration. The landlord promised to provide accommodation, while the tenant was obliged to give monthly payment. On the whole, offer, acceptance, and consideration are vital for concluding an enforceable contract. As a rule, lawyers focus on these aspects while determining whether a contract exists.
Nevertheless, there are other requirements that an agreement has to satisfy to be legally binding. Among them, one can distinguish the legal capacity of each side. Such a notion as capacity can be described as the ability of a person to enter into legal agreements (Rogers & Kauffman, 2012). There are two criteria that a person has to meet to have legal capacity. Firstly, this individual has to be of the full legal age. Secondly, a person, whose mental functioning is impaired due to some reasons, may not be allowed to enter into legal agreements (Rogers & Kauffman, 2012). Both the owner and the tenant had a right to sign this agreement.
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Finally, a contract can be enforceable only if it does not violate any laws (Rogers & Kauffman, 2012). The agreement signed by the tenant and the owner was consistent with the existing legal norms and regulations. Thus, one can say that each side has to abide by the conditions of the agreement. Moreover, the landlord and the resident cannot unilaterally void the arrangement.
Remedies Available to Both Sides
Every contract can be breached due to various reasons; therefore, it is essential to identify the means through which an injured party can enforce its rights. Such situations are widespread in the case of property lease agreements. Very often, these conflicts arise when a tenant fails to make timely payments. Under such circumstances, the landlord can evict the resident. Before taking such a step, he/she should provide a three-day notice and terminate the contract if the resident does make the payment during this period (Brown, Portman, & Rosenquest, 2017).
There are other cases when such measures may be taken. Firstly, one should speak about the possession of illegal drugs or commercial use of the premises (Brown et al., 2017). Additionally, the owner of the house can seize the property of the resident if the dwelling unit was damaged by the tenant and no reimbursement was provided (Brown et al., 2017). Thus, the contract helps the owner insure himself against possible losses.
At the same time, some remedies are available to a tenant. For instance, he/she can require the landlord to lower the rent if the house has certain defects that have not been identified before the formation of the contract (Fields & Fields, 2016). A tenant can also take such actions if the owner fails to do the necessary repairs in time. Each side has to remember the duties described in the lease contract; otherwise, they can incur substantial costs. This issue is particularly critical in situations when one of the sides acts unethically. In these cases, good knowledge of the agreement and remedies is necessary for mitigating potential risks.
Both landlords and tenants should be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities before signing a lease agreement; otherwise, they may face serious risks. At first, one should mention that a contract has to have some elements to be legally enforceable. In particular, it is possible to name such attributes as mutual agreement, consideration, legal capacity, and compliance with existing laws. Both parties have certain remedies that may be very helpful if the contract is breached.
For instance, a landlord may require the resident to leave the house if the payment is not made in time. A person should clearly understand one’s rights and responsibilities if he/she chooses to rent. This knowledge will be essential for avoiding potential losses and receiving fair treatment. A conflict between the landlord and a tenant may arise in many situations; therefore, a person should be ready for settling such disputes.
Brown, D., Portman, J., & Rosenquest, N. (2017). The California landlord’s law book: Rights & responsibilities. Berkeley, CA: Nolo.
Fields, C., & Fields, K. (2016). Essentials of real estate law. New York, NY: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
Rogers, S., & Kauffman, K. (2012). Essentials of business law. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.