Always read your contracts
The contract for my rented flat expires on Thursday, so I’ve been talking to my estate agent to sort out a new contract. As I was reading the contract, I decided to tweet a few of the more interesting clauses – among other things, cleaning the chimneys in a high-rise building, preventing a 2020-esque invasion of murder hornets, and a ban on sublets that mentions Airbnb by name. It was meant to be a bit of fun, but it uncovered a serious point.
Lots of people replied to the thread to say, “I’m so glad I’m not the only person who reads contracts”. This is mildly terrifying to me – contracts often involve lots of money. There’s no way I’d sign something without understanding what I’m committing myself to, but apparently not everyone feels the same.
This rental extension turned out to be an example of why it’s important to to read your contracts. Although we’d agreed some changes the standard contract, they were missing in the first version. If I hadn’t read the contact carefully, I wouldn’t have spotted the mistake until far too late – and it’s not the first time reading a contract has spotted something like that.
- Always read your contracts
- Ask a lawyer if you’re not sure what something means
- Don’t sign something that you don’t understand
A bit of hassle now can avoid a lot of pain later.