Contract Law is one of the biggest areas of law and penetrates all aspects of our lives –from commercial dealings and employment law, to credit agreements and consumer purchases.
The formation of a contract is always the same – an offer is made, then once an agreement is reached the acceptance takes place, consideration is given and the contract is complete. But that’s not to say that Contract Law is simple or straightforward, the many complexities can lead to misinterpretation, so when an issue arises it can be difficult to resolve without professional legal assistance.
A credit agreement is a legally binding contract, and you’ll sign one whenever you borrow money, including credit cards, loans, overdrafts, buying goods on store cards or taking out a mortgage. The agreement document will set out what both sides are agreeing to do, including interest rates, variation terms and how and when you will pay back the money you’re borrowing.
If you fall behind on your payments, the agreement will give the lender the right to take legal action against you to reclaim the debt.
There are, however, a number of circumstances that could arise that would allow you to dispute the repayments:
- If you didn’t sign a credit agreement or someone else signed it on your behalf
- The lender didn’t follow proper procedure and made mistakes on the credit agreement
- There may be a time limit for recovering the money, which has passed
- You believe the agreement is legally unfair
- You were forced, tricked or otherwise coerced into signing the agreement
If you think there may be a reason why you don’t have to pay the money, you should get help from an experienced debt adviser or specialist solicitor.
Property Disputes – Tenant
If you live in rented property, you will have signed a lease that sets out your responsibilities as tenant, including the rent payments, the condition the property will be kept in and who’s responsible for repairs and maintenance. If you breach this contract by not fulfilling your responsibilities, your landlord will have the right to take steps to evict you.
Equally, you have rights as a tenant to live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair, to live there undisturbed and be protected from unfair eviction, rent or charges. Often if you have a problem with your landlord, you can usually settle it without going to court. Firstly, you should speak to your landlord about your concerns, as they may not even be aware that there is a problem. If this is ineffective, you should send a formal letter explaining the issue. Then move onto a mediation service, which is cheaper and quicker than court, and only look into court proceedings as a very last resort.
Property Disputes – Landlord
Most landlords expect very little from their tenants, and so long as the rent is paid and the property is well maintained there is very rarely a problem. But as a landlord, if you find your tenants are no longer suitable, whether they are in arrears with the rent or if they have breached the tenancy agreement in some other way it can be a long, costly and drawn out process to reclaim your property.
If your tenant is a month in arrears, you can arrange to serve a Notice of Intent. This acts as a warning that if the tenant remains in arrears for 2 months a Legal Notice will be served, allowing your tenant the opportunity to rectify the situation before the debt increases – but if not, you can proceed to the next step. Once the Legal Notice is served, if your tenant does not vacate you can begin the eviction process. You will need to obtain a possession order and begin court proceedings.
There is another option; a landlord can at any time during a fixed tenancy agreement, and without giving a reason, issue the tenant with a Section 21 notice to end the tenancy, so long as the tenant has a minimum of 2 months’ notice. This is a much simpler way to end a tenancy dispute, and should ensure a swift and cost effective solution.
Commercial Contract Dispute
It is common in commercial transactions for business to engage in a written contract which sets out, in clear terms, their terms of business. This is a contract which is a legally enforceable agreement and represents a vehicle for planed exchanges between two, or more, businesses. To say that the contract is legally enforceable is to say that the law gives sanction and the terms are binding on the parties to the contract. Liability for breach of contract is liability for the failure of one of the parties to comply with the terms of the contract.
This is where disputes can easily arise, not just because of a failure to complete the contract as agreed or a breach of the terms, but if there is inconsistency, confusion or a misinterpretation of what exactly was agreed. If this is the case, it can become very difficult to decide which party is entitled to compensation or recompense.
In these cases, it is not unusual for the court to insert clauses into contracts that were implied in the discussions, or should have been included as a matter of law, and they may also exclude some clauses because they are unlawful or inherently unfair.
For professional advice, please contact Best Solicitors at Broughton House, 48 West Street, Sheffield, S1 4EX or call 0114 358 3134.