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Lodger Agreement

Lodger Agreement

Postby lepton » Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:21 pm

I have a question regarding the interpretation of some terms in a lodger agreement that is widely available on the internet, eg here:
http://www.wlga.gov.uk/download.php?id=5305&l=1

In particular the following two:
  • Early termination - By mutual agreement, either party may at any time end this agreement earlier than the end of the term by giving the other written notice of ___ weeks/months
  • This Agreement is personal to the Lodger and is not assignable. It will terminate automatically with no notices if the Lodger ceases to reside at the Property, or fails to make two or more of the payments that are due.

In my mind the break clause is ambiguous, does it read as either:
  • Subject to mutual agreement, either party... or
  • It is mutually agreed that, either party...
i.e. if one side provides the notice does the other need to approve/accept it?

And would I be correct in thinking that the second clause implies that the agreement would end automatically just by moving out regardless of the break clause?
In which case why include the break clause?

Thanks for any thoughts on the matter.
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Re: Lodger Agreement

Postby Hairyloon » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:15 am

lepton wrote:And would I be correct in thinking that the second clause implies that the agreement would end automatically just by moving out regardless of the break clause?
In which case why include the break clause?

If you are correct (and I think you are) then that makes your earlier question moot.
My guess is the break clause is to make it look as if the author knows what they are doing and to give one or both parties a false sense of security.
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Re: Lodger Agreement

Postby atticus » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:31 am

One party may give notice to the other. Full stop.
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Re: Lodger Agreement

Postby theycantdothat » Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:04 am

Hairyloon wrote:My guess is the break clause is to make it look as if the author knows what they are doing and to give one or both parties a false sense of security.


Spot on! The agreement is for a fixed term. The "right to break" is no such thing since it can only be exercised by mutual agreement. If it were exercisable what is the point of making the agreement a fixed term?

In any event, as pointed out, the lodger can end the agreement by leaving.

I had a quick look at the agreement and it comes over as amateurish. Whilst there is no technical objection to defining the person doing the letting as "the Tenant", it is bound to be confusing.
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Re: Lodger Agreement

Postby atticus » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:26 am

I suggest that the mutual agreement is at the time of entering into this lodger agreement. In effect, that clause says "we now agree that ..."
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Re: Lodger Agreement

Postby theycantdothat » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:35 am

A possible interpretation. The counter argument is: Why single out this clause to include the words? Do we not have to take the whole clause as it comes?
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Re: Lodger Agreement

Postby atticus » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:40 am

And the words "early termination" *may* be taken to signify the intention.

Anyone proposing to use this agreement should delete those three words.
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Re: Lodger Agreement

Postby lepton » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:08 pm

theycantdothat wrote:A possible interpretation. The counter argument is: Why single out this clause to include the words? Do we not have to take the whole clause as it comes?


Why include that clause if it requires mutual agreement? Surely a process of mutual agreement would allow alteration of any of the contract terms and so the specific stipulation here would be unnecessary and likely indicates mine and atticus' interpretation? (Even though it would be unnecessarily worded)

Atticus would you also agree with Hairyloon and theycantdothat that the second clause regarding automatic termination is explicit and that just moving out would render the whole question about early break moot?

And I agree about removing/changing the wording, sadly people don't and they may then find themselves in disagreement about whether any future rent is due if their lodger leaves and they disagree with my interpretation.
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Re: Lodger Agreement

Postby atticus » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:17 pm

Look also at the words just above the space for signatures; they support my interpretation.

Just moving out may mean that the lodger won't get any deposit back.
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Re: Lodger Agreement

Postby theycantdothat » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:23 am

I had not seen the words at the end:

Should the Tenant vacate the property or give notice of the intention to vacate the property, the Lodger Agreement will be immediately terminated and the property returned to (insert name of landlord)

(Threw me for a moment what with it starting with the word "Tenant".) That does not quite agree with the mutual break clause. The "Tenant" only has to give notice of an intention to vacate and the arrangement ends immediately. "I give you notice I intend to vacate the property" will do even if there is no intention to vacate for a long time.

There is a double problem. The clauses under discussion do not sit well with each other and are poorly drafted. Even if you decide the effect of each clause you still have to work out how they interact.
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