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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8564
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My wife and I are due to move into a new property tomorrow.

Customer Question

My wife and I are due to move into a new property tomorrow.
The contract was signed by all parties on DocuSign a few weeks ago. Last week, we decided to bring the start date forward in favour to the landlord, which we all agreed with the agency and landlord over email.
In changing the date, the agency voided the original contract and issued a new one with the new move in date which my wife and I signed. Once again, this was done over DocuSign. However, one day before the move, the landlord wants to pull out as he received an offer to buy. The agency didn't inform us that changing the date would require voiding the contract and therefore exposing us to such risk. We never agreed to cancelling the contract rather asked to amend it to include a new date.
Are we covered from a legal standpoint and should do we have a ground to sue the landlord or agency?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
To clarify, the landlord signed the first contract (move in date Oct 7th 2016) but not the second (move in date Sep 27th 2016).
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 2 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Just to be clear it has been signed by both you and the landlord?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hi Jamie
The landlord, my wife and I signed the contract to move in on October 7th. We then agreed to bring the date forward to move in on September 27th. The agency, instead of amending the existing contract, voided the signed contract and issued a new one. In doing so, the landlord claims the original contract we signed is no longer enforceable.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
We all signed the first contract but he hasn't signed the second. My question is whether the first is still enforceable as it should be amended and not voided? Thanks.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 2 months ago.

Ok - so this was a new contract rather than an amendment to the existing one?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I'm assuming so as the agency says the original is voided. However, we never agreed to cancel the original but rather update the start date (hence update the contract). My question is: can the agency void the contract without our consent and should it not be amended rather than cancelled? I would think that the original is voided once the second is signed and therefore supersedes the original, rather than exposing us to this risk one day before the move which has no materialised.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 2 months ago.

Thanks. The fact remains that you have an 'old' contract. You could argue that this was simply an amendment. As such the Landlord is in breach of contract if he changes his/her mind.

What you could do is sue the landlord for breach of contract. You would be entitled to seek repayment of any additional estate agent fees, moving costs and if you have to pay any higher rent for a similar property. Remember you can only claim additional costs.

So yes, there is a valid contract and as such you can sue for loss and damage.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Jamie, I have resorted to professional advice elsewhere as this took too long. Moreover, your advice is not valid - despite the landlord and myself having signed the contract, it was not dated. This was the first question my solicitor asked. I will be requesting for a cancellation of the trial and a refund for the amount paid. It's the second and last time I use this site.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 2 months ago.

I see that the previous expert has opted out and that you have taken other advice which is never a bad idea.

Let me just try to expand upon what you have already said.

I’m assuming that the original agreements were both signed and dated and it’s the later agreements which were only signed but not dated.

The later agreements are not enforceable.

Whether the original agreements are enforceable (if signed and dated)would depend on whether they had actually been “exchanged”.

You can sign your copy of the agreement and date it and the landlord can do the same but if they simply remain on your desk, there is no contract until such time as the paperwork is exchanged or agreed to be exchanged.

It is highly likely that you signed the document electronically and it was then simply held by the agent. Would need to have received the landlords signed copy (electronically or in hard copy) and then, you would have an enforceable agreement.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Please, I would like to cancel my membership and get my money back. I never find this site useful. It's hasty advice, slow response and impersonal.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I don't want to be referred to a new solicitor. I keep getting bounced around and the answers are useless. I don't want to received another single message - please cancel my subscription immediately and refund the money I paid.

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