Contract Law & Civil Litigation

The purpose of a contract is to establish the agreement that the parties have made and to fix their rights and duties in accordance with that agreement. The courts must enforce a valid contract as it is made, unless there are grounds that bar its enforcement. It is the policy of the law to encourage the formation of contracts between competent parties for lawful objectives. As a general rule, contracts by competent persons, equitably made, are valid and enforceable. Parties to a contract are bound by the terms to which they have agreed, usually even if the contract appears to be improvident or a bad bargain, as long as it did not result from fraud, duress, or undue influence.

There are many different types of contracts. Here are a few examples:

Express Contracts: In an express contract, the parties state the terms, either orally or in writing, at the time of its formation. There is a definite written or oral offer that is accepted by the offeree (i.e., the person to whom the offer is made) in a manner that explicitly demonstrates consent to its terms.

Implied Contracts: Although contracts that are implied in fact and contracts implied in law are both called implied contracts, a true implied contract consists of obligations arising from a mutual agreement and intent to promise, which have not been expressed in words. It is misleading to label as an implied contract one that is implied in law because a contract implied in law lacks the requisites of a true contract. The term quasi-contract is a more accurate designation of contracts implied in law. Implied contracts are as binding as express contracts. An implied contract depends on substance for its existence; therefore, for an implied contract to arise, there must be some act or conduct of a party, in order for them to be bound.

Bilateral and Unilateral Contracts: The exchange of mutual, reciprocal promises between entities that entails the performance of an act, or forbearance from the performance of an act, with respect to each party, is a Bilateral Contract. A bilateral contract is sometimes called a two-sided contract because of the two promises that constitute it. The promise that one party makes constitutes sufficient consideration (see discussion below) for the promise made by the other.

Landlord / Tenant Lease Contract Issues

When you rent a house or apartment to another person, you enter into a legal contract known as a landlord-tenant relationship. This contract has certain basic conditions set by law that you should understand before you enter into this type of agreement.

Landlord: you have the right to receive rent for the use of your property. You also have the right to have your property returned to you undamaged at the end of the rental agreement. It should be returned in the same condition it was received, except for normal wear and tear. In exchange for these rights, it is your responsibility to provide a home that is habitable and to make repairs when needed. You must also equip the residence with a properly working smoke detector and provide the initial set of batteries if it is battery operated.

Tenant: you have certain rights and responsibilities. First of all, you have the right of exclusive possession, which means that even though the landlord owns the property, you generally have the right to your privacy. No one may invade your “home” without legal authority. As such, your landlord must give you at least 24 hours notice before entering the property, unless there are various circumstances such as prior permission granted, etc. Second, you have the right to a “habitable” home. This means that the property must be safe and sanitary. The space must be free of pests when you move in, and there must be proper wiring, plumbing, heating and weatherproofing. The landlord must maintain these conditions throughout your rental period.

While most landlord-tenant agreements are completed without incident, the very "competing" nature of the two can result in a conflict. CHANG & ASSOCIATES, P.C. is equiped to aid either the Landlord or the Tenant should such a conflict arise.