Creating and signing contracts is usually an energy intensive process for all the involved parties. Agreeing on a set of terms that all parties support can be challenging. Drafting the terms and agreeing on the wording can be delicate. This article highlights the 5 areas where the most energy is lost in the contracting process.
1. Identifying the right contract template
Free and paid contract templates float on the web but choosing the right one can be a treacherous challenge for the unlawyered. In particular they need to understand which agreement is most appropriate for them based on their appetite for risk and willingness to take on obligations. Moreover, not all contract templates have a gold standard such as for the Residential Lettings Agency Terms of Business agreement which can cause confusion around what should be included or not. Free templates often miss important concepts such as data protection clauses.
2. Tailoring the template to the agreed terms
When setting the terms of an agreement it is important to understand that even if something is agreed in writing, it might not be legally enforceable because of vitiating factors or simply because the terms render the contract void ab initio. Secondly, multiple strategies exist for drafting an agreement and each will have nuanced implications which might not be immediately understood. For example, you can add a permitted occupier to a tenancy agreement by defining them in the tenancy agreement or adding the occupier as a tenant if they are willing to bear the liability, responsibilities, and obligations of a tenant.
3. Obligations and delivering on the terms
A party might need to satisfy a set of requirements before they can enter into an agreement. For example a landlord might need a HMO License based on the location of their property before they can rent it out. We explain the full set of obligations a landlord needs to comply with for letting a house in multiple occupation and when letting a sole occupancy. It is also important to verify that elements quoted in a contract exist. For example, employment contracts often refer to a Staff handbook so it is important to verify that one exists before using that specific template.
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4. Coordinating the signature
Signing a contract can still be challenging despite the increased acceptance of e-signatures. The authorised signatories are not necessarily the individuals you interact with in the lead up to the signature and they might not necessarily be easily accessible.
5. Managing the contract post signature and termination
Signing a contract is satisfactory due to the amount of energy invested in the process. It is also post-signature that the terms of an agreement tend to be forgotten which can be risky. For example, a tenant might forget that they need to ask the landlord’s permission for fixtures and fittings. It can also be difficult to keep track of expiries and renewals which can lead to periods without protection or missed opportunities for exercising renewal clauses. Monitoring contracts post signature requires investing a considerable amount of energy without an automated system like Legislate.
Legislate is a platform which allows large landlords and small businesses to create, configure and sign robust and fair agreements which satisfy 100% of their requirements and that they can understand. Legislate streamlines the contracting process with automation, creating a delightful experience for parties on both sides of the contract table. Once the contracts are signed, Legislate extracts unique insights with its patent-pending knowledge graph which then allows its members to make key decisions for their business and improve their negotiating position with the latest contracting trends from the Legislate community.
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.