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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  25 years practicing law
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If a contract is changed after one party signed, without written

Resolved Question:

If a contract is changed after one party signed, without written authorization, is the contract voided?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.

DearCustomer- If only one party has signed then there is no contract. I the other party makes changes and then signs the first party would also have to either initial the changes or re sign the contract. I'm not certain from your facts exactly what happened in this case but the general rule is that both parties must be in agreement to all the terms and sign the same contract.

 

David Kennett - JD - Attorney at Law

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We signed the original contract and returned it to the property, There had been some issues so we went to the contract for reference. Upon a second review we realized that the signed contract that we returned had been altered from what we returned it in. The property signed after makeing these hand written changes. So the contract does have both parties signatures.....except that the copy returned to us is not what we sent in. Some of our special considerations had been hand crossed out.

Since they did this with out our approval, does it make the contract null & void?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.

In my opinion it does, especially if these are material changes. There are times if some minor change is made that a court will rule that only the changes are unenforceable but that the contract is still in force. For instance, if a lease is signed and the landlord adds some minor fee for say a pet deposit the tenant can argue that the lease is still in effect but that the pet deposit doesn't have to be made.

 

I just don't want to give the impression that it is 100% null and void due to some small change that can be separated from the contract. I am approaching this from the standpoint that if it went to court what the outcome may be. Generally if the change is material to the operation of the contract then it would void the entire contract. The changes should have been initialed by you before the contract was complete.

 

Dave

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I've done some more research. The signed contract from us was returned to the property on the 18th. It appears that the consessions that were crossed off after the fact were addressed to me via e-mail. I specifically stated that was not acceptable, via e-mail. THeir signature on the contract was dated the 25th. After some dickering the property agreed via e-mail on the 27th that they would allow the consessions crossed off after we signed. They appologized for the slow turn around and a copy with the consessions would be forwarded to me with in 3 days. I never recieved our copy and after multiple calls and e-mails a month 1/2 later was when I was informed that individual was no longer with the company and recieved a copy of the contract...as stated above. WIth the hand written changes that were not authorized.

Hopefully you follow what I am saying. WIth that additional information, do you feel the contract is void, especially when I have in writing that those changes were not approved and was promised a fresh corrected contract?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.

I believe the contract is void since it would appear that these terms were an essential part of the contract and that you would never have agreed to the contract without those terms. Keep in mind that my opinion is just than, an opinion and if this actually goes to court the outcome could be different based on all the evidence.

 

Verbal statements outside the written contract generally are not enforceable. The key to all of this is that you never signed the contract after the changes were made unilaterally. The fact that terms that were crossed out were an essential part of the contract would mean that you would not have signed without the terms being included and therefore there is no contract. That should be your legal stance in case of a suit.

 

Dave

Dave Kennett, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 27687
Experience: 25 years practicing law
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