Family Health Legal Library

Specific Types of Contracts and Contract Issues

Leases

The next few areas will deal with specific types of contracts, since many of these special types of contracts have certain rules which govern their interpretation and legal effect. Once again, this discussion is intended to be general in nature, and exceptions are numerous.

Leases should be treated just like contracts. They are enforceable and will obligate you to the terms of any signed agreement.

Generally, there are two types of leases: "open end" leases and "closed end" leases. Open end leases usually cost less per month, but depending upon the value of the item when you return it, you may be assessed additional charges at the end of the lease. This amount depends upon the wear and tear on the item when you bring it back. If you dispute the amount owed at the end of a lease, you can hire, at your cost, an independent appraiser to value the property. This person can provide information, should the dispute intensify. You should beware, however, that an unfavorable appraisal might work to your disadvantage.

A closed-end lease allows each party to negotiate the value of the property at the end of the lease, with an option to purchase it at the end. If the person who leased the item does not wish to purchase the item, she/he can merely return it.

With any type of lease, you should know that, as with any contract, you generally cannot terminate the lease early, unless a condition in the lease permits you to do so. Doing so will subject you to several potential problems, including a lawsuit, arbitration, and a negative report on your credit report.

Leases generally involve substantial amounts of money which must be paid over the terms of the lease. Your Plan Attorneys are fully equipped to advise you on the terms of a lease before you sign it, or on the meanings of any provisions in your lease, once it is already signed. Their rates for reviewing legal documents are affordable when several thousand dollars may be at stake.

However, sometimes a lease (for office equipment, for example) may be for a smaller amount, let's say $995. A problem with the computer or the leasing company would require that you might lose money, if you could not pursue your rights. You may want to learn more about the specific steps you can take to pursue your legal rights. Specific instructions on how to obtain this information is available at Small Claims and Consumer Help. This section gives you step-by-step instructions to follow in determining: (1) whether it is worth it to sue; (2) what paperwork to file; and (3) exactly how to present your case to give you the best chance of winning. Remember, hesitation gives the person or store who was not fair to you the upper hand. This chapter is all about making sure you get help with your problem, when it costs too much to hire a lawyer. The resources in this booklet and through our Small Claims and Consumer Help can be used by you over and over again whenever these problems arise.

Specific Types of Contracts and Contract Issues
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Specific Types of Contracts and Contract Issues
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