Essay Example: Contracts and Landlord-Tenant Law

Published: 2023-08-28
Essay Example: Contracts and Landlord-Tenant Law
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Contract Law Judicial system
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1855 words
16 min read

A contract is a legally binding document between two parties, assuring that they will fulfil their obligation as set in the agreement (Bix, 2013). Contracts can take various forms, such as oral, written, or a mixture of both. Common examples of contracts include tenancy agreements, employment contracts, and school admission regulations. According to Bix (2013), the purpose of contracts is to legally protect the welfares of both parties by warranting they accomplish their commitments (Bix, 2013). When either party breaks the terms of the contract, specific remedies are set as solutions. They can take the form of fines or legal litigation, regardless, Bix, (2013), states that written contracts are the safest means of making agreements (Bix, 2013). The argument is based on the fact that written contracts allow both parties to clarify specific misunderstood terms. Additionally, in legal cases, the court can clarify the terms of the contract interpreting it for both parties (Bix, 2013). For a contract to be legally valid, it must comply with four key elements; capacity, intention, consideration, and agreement.

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Elements of a Contract


An agreement is based on two core aspects, the offer and acceptance. All contracts must have an offer from one party to the other, which has to be accepted for the contract to be binding (Andrews, 2015). Moreover, acceptance of the offer must be unconditional for the contract to be valid (Andrews, 2015). For example, in an employment contract, the applicant can negotiate the terms with the employer before accepting the offer.


The validity of a contract is also based on the ability of both parties to understand the terms and conditions of the agreement (Andrews, 2015). Additionally, both parties must consent to the agreement without any form of coercion. However, if either party member is under the age of 18 years, suffering from a mental disorder, or under the influence of narcotics or alcohol, they cannot enter a contract (Andrews, 2015). Hence both parties have to be of sound mind and judgment.


Consideration is the term used to identify the benefit of both parties from a binding contract (Andrews, 2015). The considerations do not have to be equal but have to be sufficient; for example, if someone sells his car for free, the purchase agreement will lack consideration (Andrews, 2015). However, if the car is to be accepted in exchange for a dog, then it would be valid.


It is critical to note that not all agreement between two or more parties is a contract. For a contract to be legally binding, both parties have to demonstrate their intentions towards the contract (Andrews, 2015). For example, social situations such as friends agreeing to meet at school cannot be viewed as a legally binding agreement. However, accepting the terms and conditions of a tenancy agreement is legally compelling for both parties to contribute as per the agreement.

Case Study

In the case of Sam and the national chain store, the contract was valid due to several factors. Firstly, Sam made an offer to deliver 1000 units of his completed invention. Secondly, the offer was accepted as the national chain store demanded the delivery of the promised 1000 units. Thirdly, Sam was in the appropriate capacity during the formulation of the agreement. He was over the age of 18 years as he had a tenancy agreement and was working. Additionally, he was not intoxicated or pressured to make the contract. Finally, a predetermined value was placed on the products as they were to be sold in the chain store. The elements of the contract identify that Sam created a legally binding verbal contract with the national chain store.

Quasi Contracts and Promissory Estoppel

A quasi-contract refers to the retrospective agreement made between two parties who had no previous obligation to each other (Chirico & Larouche, 2010). Its primary purpose is to correct a circumstance in which one party incurs unjust expenses due to the other party. In other words, its objective is to ensure that one party does not benefit from another’s expense. The agreement can be imposed if a service is accepted, and the corresponding party does not deliver it (Chirico & Larouche, 2010). Quasi-contracts outline the duty of one party to the other, notably if they have had an agreed-upon property. It is critical to note that in quasi-contracts, each party may not necessarily have prior pacts with each other to be effective (Chirico & Larouche, 2010). Additionally, considering that quasi-contracts are created in courts of law, they are legally binding; therefore, neither party can refute the outcome.

On the other hand, promissory estoppel is similar to a contract. However, they rely on a promise, and it can be created without the other requirements of a contract (Alden, 2016). Promissory estoppel is applicable under three essential elements; firstly, the promise made by either party is unambiguous and clear (Alden, 2016). Secondly, the party that made the promise expects the other party to benefit from it. Thirdly, the promised party trusted the assurance of the other party (Alden, 2016). Finally, the reliance on the promise resulted in identifiable incurred costs.

Under the assumption the contract in the case study was not valid, the national chain store would have won against Sam under promissory estoppel. Sam made clear and explicit promises to the national chain store; however, he failed to deliver as promised, considering the chain store relied on his promise. Moreover, the chain store may have acquired expenses in the form of advertisements in preparation for the delivery of the products. Though the process is legally binding, it varies significantly in all 50 states.

Rights and Duties of Landlords and Tenants

Rights and Duties of Landlords

Under the standard residential lease agreement, the law enforces several responsibilities on the landlord and gives the tenants considerable rights. Among the rights is possession, the landlord has the right to inspect the property under pre-agreed hours and conditions or circumstances. Additionally, they have the right to receive rent from the tenant leasing the property (Cornell Law School, 2020). When it comes to renting charges, the landlord has the right to increase it. However, the changes have to adhere to legal limitations. Finally, landlords have the right to keep their property free of damage, subletting, noise, and disruption, among other undesired activities (Cornell Law School, 2020). On the other hand, the landlord obligations include maintenance of the property, completion of necessary repairs, and ensuring the premises are safe (Cornell Law School, 2020). The obligations vary depending on the location; regardless, the identified list offers a comprehensive summary of the obligations.

Rights and Duties of Tenants

Though, as per the law, tenants have authority over the property they lease, they also have rights and duties to complete. Among the first obligation of tenants is to pay full rent duly on the pre-agreed period. Secondly, tenants must obey the consequences of late payment as agreed on in the lease agreement (Cornell Law School, 2020). Thirdly. Tenants must maintain the property responsibly, reducing the expenses incurred by the landlord. Finally, subletting and creation of disturbances are prohibited by most landlords, and tenants must comply. Coupled with the obligations of tenants are their rights (Cornell Law School, 2020). Among the first is that the tenants have the right to exclude the landlord from entering the property. Additionally, tenants have the right to have repairs conducted in a timely fashion. Discrimination is also not allowed during the tenancy period (Cornell Law School, 2020). Tenants have the right to be informed of any changes taking place during their tenancy period. Finally, tenants cannot be evicted without proper notice, and they also have the right to the security deposit (Cornell Law School, 2020). However, it will be minus the expenses for repairs of damages during the tenancy period.

Sam’s Tenant Lease Argument

The case of Sam and his landlord is based on the fact that his landlord was aware of the invention Sam was developing in his property and did not refute anything. Therefore, when it comes to arguing against the eviction notice, the landlord has no grounds. Sam can firstly claim the lease agreement did not specify any issue with running a business in the property. Secondly, if the device being developing created disturbances for other tenants, it did not warrant an eviction notice. Alternatively, it can be argued that he is not running a business but rather working on an invention. The action is not considered a business, and according to tenancy rights, Sam is obliged to enjoy his inventions in his home. Another aspect from which Sam can argue his case is that he did not receive any complaint letter from the other tenants or complaints from the landlord.

Eviction Defense

The assessment of the case study identified both parties did not adhere to their rights and duties as a tenant and landlord. However, in the case of an eviction action, Sam may use his rights as a tenant to bar the landlord’s eviction attempts. As previously mentioned, tenants have the right to exclude landlords from the property during the tenancy period (Cornell Law School, 2020). The action would allow Sam to take necessary legal action against the landlord’s intentions. The evidence of not receiving any complaints to resolve the issue would be used as the core argument. Sam may argue that if the other tenants were disturbed by his invention, he would have made the necessary changes to rectify the problem. However, the landlord failed to convey the complaints of the other tenants to Sam, considering he was aware of his work.


The case study identified that in the case of Sam and the chain store, Sam failed to uphold his end of the agreement made of delivering 1000 units of his invention. The chain store, thereby, has the right to demand the promised product under aa promissory estoppel. He promised to produce and deliver 1000 units; the chain store experienced a loss due to spending on the marketing of a product that was not delivered. In his tenant agreement misunderstanding, he also violated the agreement of not creating disturbances found in the standard residential lease agreement. However, his tenancy agreements may vary from the standardized model; regardless, his device produced dog barking sounds as a security feature. In the process of the device’s development, it caused disturbances for the other tenants. The assessment of the case identified the landlord is at fault. Firstly, he was aware of Sam’s invention; therefore, any complaints should have been direct to Sam to resolve the problem. Overall, the case study enforces the importance of the contract and landlord-tenant law. Each party is expected to comprehend and uphold their contribution to the agreement; lack thereof by either party would result in either contract termination, conflict, or legal litigations.


Alden, E. (2016). Promissory Estoppel and the Origins of Contract Law. SSRN Electronic Journal, 9(1).

Andrews, N. (2015). Contract law (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Bix, B. (2013). Contract law. Cambridge University Press. (Bix, 2013)

Chirico, F., & Larouche, P. (2010). Economic analysis of the DCFR. Sellier European Law Publishers.

Cornell Law School. (2020). Landlord-Tenant Law. Legal Information Institute.

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