There are many occasions where people enter into contracts or agreements. People sign agreements with other people or corporations, whether acquiring a new car, purchasing properties, or paying for a mortgage. An enforceable contract contains five components. They include an offer, acceptance, consideration, competency, and legal intent. I will define these elements by narrating my first experience in the contract signing process. The first aspect of an enforceable contract is the offer to enter into an agreement. The offer is an invitation to another person to seal the deal by promising to act or abstaining from acting in return for negotiated terms. I wish I had known this when I was signing my first contract.
In March 2014, I entered into a contract with Properties Unlimited to rent a 3-bedroom apartment for one year. In July 2014, I found that my little brother, whom I was staying with, was falling sick every time. A visit to the doctor revealed he had intermittent asthma. Shortly after this happened, we had a heavy storm, and I noticed my roof was leaking. There was water everywhere, from my wardrobe to the kitchen, as well as in the closet. The floors and carpets were all soaked up. Later, I realized the room had flooded several times a few months before, and as a result, the mold was forming. I opted to terminate my contract in December 2014, which was only a couple of months until the lease expired. The well-being of my little brother meant the most to me. The landlord understood my situation, and without going to court we were able to resolve the issue.
The above scenario would have turned out differently if I had taken a keen look at the lease arrangements before committing to it. Lease arrangements are offered from the Homeowner to the Tenant. When entering into a contract, the deal must make a specific commitment and have fair terms and conditions (Meagher, 2018). In my case, the terms and the offer were quite reasonable. The rental price was suitable for the apartment’s size and the area in which it was situated. I had no reason to believe this place was not ideal for me. It had a large playground for my two brothers and me. It also enabled each of us to have our own space. The landlord and I failed to utilize the offer element because he was not honest, while I was unable to take a thorough look at what I was being offered before accepting it.
Acceptance is the next fundamental aspect of an enforceable contract. It is an agreement to sign the contract under the terms specified within it. To prevent any uncertainty, the specifics of the deal must include points that affect acceptance, including the expiry date of the contract, the right to cancel, and the specifications of what defines acceptance. In my case, I went around the house with the landlord, and he assured me that everything was clean and ready to move in. At the time I was young and did not know what to look for. I discovered the floor was wet, but the landlord said it had been vacuumed and shampooed recently. I had no reason not to trust him, and I perceived his statement as the truth; thus, assuming I had landed a decent deal. Clearly, instead of trusting him, I should have made sure the elements of the offer corresponded to the contract.
Consideration is an aspect of legal value which is demanded and accepted as the cost of signing a contract. It could be financial and also the guarantees to perform certain actions. The performing of actions or duties could be described as “required to do” or “expected to refrain from doing”. When I signed the agreement, I was required to deposit the first month’s rent in advance, which I did. It seemed reasonable to me, and it was an excellent price for such a neighborhood.
Legality is the point to which the agreement is legitimate and not contrary to public policy. It is also defined as a binding arrangement on the grounds of consideration. The mutual trust of the legality would ensure both sides are similarly bound. The contract I signed seemed fair because it took into account what both parties wanted and was not a one-sided affair; neither was it biased. For a contract to be legitimate and binding, each party should be bound by it. I was obliged to pay rent, and the apartment owner was compelled to accept all liabilities on the property. In reality, he made an illusory vow, which indicated him as having entered into an agreement before fully committing himself to repair the leaking roof.
The last element is capacity, and it is the mental competence to enter into a contract. Which means an individual has the capacity to commit to the agreement. My landlord and I were both competent and knew exactly what we had to do when we committed to the deal. He knew I wanted to find accommodation as soon as possible, so he omitted crucial details which were wrong or faulty with the apartment.
I firmly believe there existed a breach of contract in my case because the developer did not abide by his end of the bargain. Breach of contract arises when one side of a contractual arrangement fails to honor the terms agreed upon. The landlord knew the apartment was leaking and also failed to inform me of the previous flooding. He placed my brother’s life at risk only to benefit himself. He was happy to have escaped a lawsuit because he knew he was dishonest and would lose the case.
There exist some different types of remedies regarding breach of contract. They include payment of damages, strict liability, dismissal, and restitution. The courts with minimal authority will only recognize the payment of damages remedy. The actual performance and termination remedies are equal penalties that do not fall under the magistrate courts’ jurisdiction (Davies, 2015). There are two general types of damages that can be granted if there is proof of contract violation, and they include compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are used to compensate for the non-breaching party’s costs as an outcome of the infringement. The amount awarded is intended to pay for or account for the damage incurred due to the breach (Davies, 2015). Punitive damages also referred to as “exemplary damages,” are meant to punish the guilty party for heinous conduct and discourage others from behaving similarly, unlike compensatory damages intended to cover actual harm. For the breach of contract, punitive damages are seldom granted (Davies, 2015). As in my case, if we were to go to court, the landlord would have likely incurred the compensatory damage, which would have catered for my damaged furniture and carpet.
An enforceable contract is a legal arrangement that is intended to bind two parties. It is highly anticipated that both parties will follow the terms and conditions of the contract. The agreement serves as a security tool that protects the two parties. The most appropriate way to protect oneself from violation of the arrangement is by properly understanding its details and making sure they align with both parties’ expectations.
Davies, P. (2015). Remedies for breach of trust. The Modern Law Review, 78(4), 681–694.
Meagher, J. (2018). (Re-defining) the trust of the specifically enforceable contract of sale—the vendor purchaser constructive trust. Trusts & Trustees, 24(3), 266–297.