A few months ago, a friend of mine needed to expand his apartment by two extra rooms for some reason and he approached his landlord to get the go-ahead. He was aware the expansion would attract an increment to his annual rent so he needed to discuss how much he could afford to add to his yearly rent after footing the bill for the construction work.
He discussed with his landlord that he could only add N50, 000 to his annual rent because he needed enough breathing space to recover from the expenses incurred during the expansion process. Especially because he knew the added rooms would add more value to the landlord’s apartment. The landlord agreed and he got to work.
6 months later, after he’d finished with the construction work, the notice came as expected. His landlord had increased his rent by N80, 000. He got really angry and accused the landlord of breaching the agreement they had. Well, the landlord denied ever making such an agreement.
My friend felt cheated and was forced to talk to a lawyer but the first question the lawyer asked him was: “is there was a signed agreement?” Of course there wasn’t. Hiring a lawyer after the deed is done is putting the cart before the horse. He should have done that earlier.
Anyway, here are three (3) reasons why you should get a contract because word of mouth agreement on its own can get you into trouble:
- A contract is a proof
Professionals default all the time, even the good ones which is why you always need a signed contract. With a signed contract, it is easy to hold a defaulting party responsible for their actions or inactions, get justice to ensure you don’t end up losing or better still, force the other party to keep their part of the contract. A contract provides proof that cannot be denied. People change their minds all the time without necessarily communicating the change. Sometimes people even forget they made a promise or intentionally lie but with a signed document, each party is on the same page about their responsibilities
2. A contract protects you.
A legal contract protects you from fraudulent professionals and deals. Should any problem arise while implementing or hiring someone for a project, a legal contract helps you fulfill your part of the contract while being rest assured the other party will fulfill theirs too. Not only should you make legal contracts for your projects, you also need to be careful in signing contracts. Read every agreement very well and make sure you understand it and state what you can deliver to avoid putting yourself into trouble.
3. A contract keeps both parties on their toes.
It’s easy for anyone to slack on their responsibilities without anything binding them but with a legal contract, both parties are forced to be committed to their part of the contract. This reduces the chances of a breach from either of the parties.
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