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Signing a contract

  1. Oct 14, 2011 #1

    Monique

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    Can someone give a word of advice? I've signed a rent agreement, but now it turns out that the contract is a bit strange. The letter in the contract is defined by elements of both the male and female residents, but it is made to look like the female is the letter:

    Ms "male name and initials"
    "e-mail address of the female"

    Then the contract is signed by the male (at least, the signature matches one that I found online).

    What is going on here, is this a trick to make the contract invalid?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 14, 2011 #2
    You are renting a room from someone? Or to someone?

    I do not think that the mistake in title should be of consequence as long as the name is the full and proper name of the signatory and should not be confused with anyone else. I would also assume that one needn't use their own e-mail address for where they ought to be contacted so that should not make a difference either.

    To be on the safe side though you should probably have a new contract drawn up properly.
     
  4. Oct 14, 2011 #3

    Monique

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    Going to rent an apartment from someone (a lawyer).

    It is indeed the full name of the signatory, but it is made to look as if the female partner is the one letting the apartment. It is often heard that people get out of law suits based on some nitty gritty details, I get the feeling this 'mistake' was made on purpose. Indeed I'm going to ask for a new contract to be drawn up. There were more shady diversions that would cost me my legal rights, but I've already found work arounds for those.
     
  5. Oct 14, 2011 #4

    Andy Resnick

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    In my (thankfully) limited experience with contracts, if both parties are willingly entering into an agreement then simple changes can be easily agreed to, written directly on the contract, and initialed by both parties. If you are not comfortable with what is potentially a minor typo, the other party should have no problem clarifying/correcting the names.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Oct 14, 2011 #5

    DaveC426913

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    Cross out and initialize the parts you don't like. Put in the correct info. Hand it back.

    A contract is a two-way agreement.

    If they have a problem with your mods, the onus is on them to come back to you.
     
  7. Oct 14, 2011 #6

    Monique

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    Thanks, I'll see how they react. When something is crossed out, does the initial need to be next to that change or is an initial on the bottom of the page enough? A change was made, but the initial was only put on the bottom of the page (as is required on all the pages of the contract). That made me uncomfortable, since it doesn't appear to be right.
     
  8. Oct 14, 2011 #7

    rhody

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    Monique,

    I wouldn't be concerned either but when you said you are renting from a lawyer, a big red flag went up. I believe you are doing the right thing by being especially careful because we all know how sleezy lawyers can be. I am not saying this one is. Better to err on the side of caution. I agree with Dave, and I would expect that if multiple changes were made to items on a page, each would be crossed out (to keep original intent), then new words, numbers, etc... would be redlined in and then you would initial and circle each entry.

    I would expect that the lawyer or his designatee to take the redlined contract and either:

    a: Initial and circle their initials next your redlines to show concurrence

    or

    b: Amend the contract with redlines incorporated, and give you a clean copy to review, and if all looks good, to sign.

    If the lawyer balks at this I would say to take your business elsewhere. Then again, he may be just fine with it. You are wise to be careful though. Good luck.

    Rhody...
     
  9. Oct 14, 2011 #8

    Monique

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    I know, the broker who is the mediator in this all replied to my earlier inquiries to the contract "the owner is a lawyer, he wouldn't put illegal things in the contract".

    Well, I know for a fact that things in there are far from legal. From my side these items are not legally binding, because I know what my rights are.

    I did run into a trap by signing a supplement that contains a wrong date, this would undermine my legal position completely. I was so pissed off when I found out. Since that date is still in the future, I can go to a notary office and have the proper current date placed upon the supplement. Yes, it's stupid of me not to sign the supplement with the current date, but since it was a supplement I thought the date was the same as on the contract that I already reviewed. A lesson to always have your guards up.
     
  10. Oct 14, 2011 #9
    From what I understand he would have to actually dispute that he signed the contract at all which he could theoretically do any way. The mistakes could perhaps aid in such a claim but I think it would be a hard argument after you move in and start paying rent unless he has fabricated an alternate document.

    Even oral contracts can be binding if the two parties both agree it exists. As long as he actually acknowledges signing the contract the minor mistake should not be a problem. Still better to be on the safe side. And while you are examining said safe side and are thinking he may be intentionally sabotaging the contract you may want to consider if he would try claiming that he never signed the contract.
     
  11. Oct 14, 2011 #10

    Borek

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    ROFL.

    How do you know layer is lying? He is writing or his lips are moving.

    At this moment I am ready to believe none of the things you are mentioning is just a random coincidence. I think I would walk away and cancel the idea of renting this particular appt. But that's just me.
     
  12. Oct 14, 2011 #11

    Monique

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    Oh I agree, but I am already caught in the web! Walking away would mean that I paid the broker a significant amount of money for nothing, if there would have been a way out without losing the money I would have done it.

    Right now it is better to put up with this underground warfare and hope that the time I will stay there will be enjoyable, the apartment is a significant improvement in living conditions. Next time around I'll know to get the basics in writing before trusting a broker, how this all started.
     
  13. Oct 14, 2011 #12
    Well where I live tenants have rights clearly drawn out. You should look into them because normally they really protect you from being screwed over by a snake landlord.

    It does not matter what is in the contract really, if it breaks the tenants rights then it is a void part of the contract. A good example is pets, where I live the landlord can NOT say you're not allowed pets unless the pets cause significant troubles for the landlord or other tenants or it's dangerous or it damages the property. (so just saying 'I don't like dogs is not good enough) However, MANY landlords will include this in the contract but since it's against the tenants rights the tenant can bring in a pet whenever they feel like it.
     
  14. Oct 14, 2011 #13

    DaveC426913

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    Initials should to be next to each change.
     
  15. Oct 14, 2011 #14

    Monique

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    Thanks, that makes sense. Another trap.

    Same here, the contract actually literally says that I waive all my rights as a tenant. Haha, I thought that was really funny coming from a lawyer. There is no way that I can waive my tenant rights even when I sign for it in a contract.

    The snake landlord did screw me with the future-dated document, he knows that the document is not valid when it is signed before the rent period has started. Fortunately I know that as well.
     
  16. Oct 14, 2011 #15

    I like Serena

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    There is still a chance that nothing bad is going on.
    For myself I prefer to give people the advantage of the doubt until proven otherwise.

    There is a chance the broker or the wife drew up the contract, who may not be skilled at all at drawing up contracts.
    Furthermore the broker (or the wife) could easily have made mistakes.
    The lawyer (if he is that, since apparently it's only an uncareful broker who says so) may simply not care enough about a "small-time" rent-agreement to carefully go over the contract.

    If I were in your position, feeling uncomfortable, I'd write up the contract again in a rectified form that I'm comfortable with.
    Oh, and I'd add a line mentioning that it makes any previous contract invalid.

    I'd make a copy and sign both.
    Go to the owner, explain the situation, and ask him to sign both as well.
    Give him one copy and keep the other (the original!)
    Finally rip up any previous versions of the contract in his presence to avoid confusion in the future about which contract is the valid one, and ask him to do the same.

    I'm pretty sure that any well-meaning person would prefer that both parties are satisfied with the agreement.
    If there is any sleaziness involved, it's best to find out as early as possible, so you can take the initiative.
    I believe you have a strong position since you already paid rent and he accepted the rent, implying you do have a contract.
    Even is there is sleaziness involved, he'd agree to modify the contract.


    Edit: of course, for a few minor typos you can also correct it, copy it, and put your and his initial to each correction on both copies.
    Keep the original with the original signatures.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
  17. Oct 14, 2011 #16
    No. It's just poorly crafted. Little details like gender, or even signing your name in the date block are not material to the nature of the contract itself and will not invalidate it. It would still be enforceable in court.
     
  18. Oct 14, 2011 #17

    BobG

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    Things like this are BS. The trivial stuff, such as "Ms" instead of "Mr", etc, won't have any impact.

    And, some of those things could just be mistakes. That happens, even in contracts written by lawyers - or, more likely, in contracts written by the lawyer's office staff and signed by the lawyer, who, being a lawyer and understanding the importance of reading a document before signing it, surely must have read it thoroughly - or not.

    Gather enough paperwork from a lawyer and you'll find plenty of mistakes. The meeting scheduled for 1:00 AM instead of 1:00 PM is merely humorous. The office staff that helpfully inserts things that seem to be missing can be extremely aggravating at a minimum and also can be quite revealing as to the character of your lawyer (some lawyers don't like to file corrections that have to be signed by a judge that they often appear before, since they feel it degrades their credibility).
     
  19. Oct 15, 2011 #18

    Monique

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    Well, it has already been proven on other points :wink: I do think they could be very nice people to get along with, as long as there is no legal dispute.
    The rent actually hasn't started yet. Also, I don't have a contract with original signatures: I've requested that they sign another copy for my administration, but they've not complied yet. An excellent opportunity for a rectification.

    Thanks!

    Indeed, it's the e-mail address that made me think otherwise, but from the responses that doesn't appear to be a problem.

    Actually, my current rent situation is also strange. Again here the person renting out the apartment is the female partner of the male owner. At the time it didn't raise alarm bells, but landing in the same situation made me think twice. Especially knowing the character of my current landlord. A nice guy who's always there, but when you run into trouble with him (hasn't happened to me) he'll say:

    "You're going to move out and it's your choice how you'll do that: through the stairway or out the window" :smile: If you don't choose for the stairway he'll call some guys to help you out the window. That's how it goes.
     
  20. Oct 18, 2011 #19

    Monique

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    Ugh, I called the housing broker and they have no idea who signed the contract and who is who (and they don't care to find out and inform me as well).

    They do claim to know that the couple is married and shares all goods, but how would they know if they don't even know that the female is not the person on the contract: she doesn't even carry that last name!

    I don't like brokers, they live up to their reputation of being lazy and deceitful.
     
  21. Oct 18, 2011 #20

    rhody

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    Monique,

    At the very least when this is all said and done, report your broker to: http://www.nationalrealtorsdirectory.com/realestatelicensing.html" [Broken]. Your complaint may seem minor, but enough complaints from enough honest folk like yourself will help prevent this behavior from continuing. What a schmuck.

    Rhody...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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