Balanced Appended Terms and Conditions to the Contract –
How to avoid punitive terms to the main contract in the era of Covid-19
This week, we are looking at with home seekers the additional terms to the main rental agreement such as assured short hold tenancy agreement.
A tenancy agreement, which is a contract between a tenant and a landlord/lady letting a tenant to live in a property as long as they pay rent and follow the rules, sets out the legal terms and conditions between the two contractual parties. It can be written or oral.
Sometimes, one party of the agreement (often the landlord/lady or their letting agents) can add other terms and conditions to the main standard legal contract. However, if this addition is fair and balanced for both parties, then there is no problem. It is always wise to make sure additional or appended terms are balanced for both contractual parties. Where it is not the case, then this needs to be addressed.
This week, we are e-working with home seekers on how to avoid punitive additional contractual terms, especially in the era of Covid-19. Covid-19 has brought additional costs and responsibilities for running and managing a property. One can hope that these additional costs in terms of property maintenance (such as cleaning) should not lead to unfair appended or punitive terms for either party of the rental process.
Types of punitive terms
Punitive terms could be of various kinds such as
• A request to pay unreasonable amount of money as cover against potential damage (punitive damages)
• Unreasonable right by the landlord/lady or their managing agents to the full access of the property without prior notice while it is rented
• Unfounded reasons restricting the tenants the use of any part of the premises rented
• A demand of exorbitant size of deposit without any sound basis
• Unsubstantiated motives for keeping a room locks while this room is part of the tenancy
• Restriction on mailing address or any other service to the property without any legal basis
• Any unfair particulars related to the Covid-19 situation, that are not related to Covid-19 statutory rules, restrictions and guidance
• Unjustified propositions related to Covid-19 property cleaning and maintenance costs
• Any unfavourably added texts or words (written or verbal) against the tenants but in favour of the landlord/lady or their managing agents
These punitive terms attached to the main contract could be written or verbal.
What this week’s activity will include
Our activity on balanced appended terms to the key contract will include the following areas of interest:
√ How to spot the unbalanced appended terms and find out they have been adverse and conflicting clauses
√ How to make any additional provisions to the contract Covid-19 proof
√ How to read, interpret and evaluate added terms and conditions to the key contract
√ How to keep appended clauses to the main agreement stay fair and balanced
√ How to make sure that any of the parties to the tenancy agreement does not influence the contents of the agreement with appended conditions in their favour but against the law
√ How to protect tenants’ and home seekers’ interests via contract terms (both main and appended terms)
√ How to avoid punitive terms, conflicting appended clauses or backstops
√ How to preserve and maintain the legality and integrity of a tenancy agreement
The above activity will be undertaken knowing that some home seekers, especially ordinary income earners, may not be able to pay for the expertise to check their tenancy rights and obligations unless they can find a concessional fee paying or free service to do so.
What’s more for this week’s activity!
This week’s activity will raise home seekers’ awareness about this issue of unfair and unbalanced appended terms.
It will as well provide some leads regarding tenancy advisory services and resources (both online and in print).
It will further prepare home seekers to participate when contracts are amended and or extra terms are added to them.
The week’s activity will finally look at real case studies of unfair and unbalanced appended terms, cases to be brought to our attention by home seekers as well as cases we came across.
We will discuss this case study.
Case study about appended terms
A landlady made a contract with a renter via a letting agent. It was agreed and added a term to the main contract that the tenant’s deposit was going to be used as the tenant’s last rent. In the last month of the contract, the landlady changed her mind and asked the tenant to pay the last rent before vacating the premises. The tenant reminded her the added term to the contract, but the landlady rejected this reminder. How do you go about this conflicting situation?
If you have been victims of unfair and unbalanced appended terms and conditions to the tenancy agreement, this week’s activity is for you. To find out how this week’s activity will work for you, please contact Home Relief.
If you are looking for an affordable location and home, Home Relief is the people dealing with affordable homes you could consider in your property searches and enquiries.