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Commercial Property Blog

Legal Tips and Traps

Tenant's additional clause takes the cake

Posted by on 12 Apr 2016

Assisted by Emily Lucas

Landlords, consider yourself warned! American tenants have (humorously) highlighted the perils of using electronic lease agreements, reminding landlords everywhere of the importance of reviewing the lease carefully before signing. 

After receiving a word version of their lease for review, the tenants decided to insert an additional clause before returning it to the landlord. Dubbed the “Birthday Cake Clause,” the tenants amended the agreement to include the following: “Lessor shall provide birthday for the Lessee(s) on the weekend closest to their birthdays, which are June 7th and February 17th.”  

The tenants further specified that “Vanilla cake is not acceptable” which was simply icing on the cake for this prank. 

The tenants (and 2.5 million viewers on Imgur) were deliciously delighted when they realised that the landlord had failed to discover the sweet clause, declaring that they would “hold him to it.” 

Whilst the clause added in this scenario wasn’t detrimental to the landlord, this example serves as a warning to those experimenting in the electronic leasing world. 

We suggest the following preventative measures to avoid a sticky situation:

  1. Check the file format before sending! Electronic lease agreements are undoubtedly a more efficient tool but with this convenience comes the responsibility to minimise the associated risks. Make sure the attached document is a PDF to prohibit the viewer making any alterations to the text. Converting a word document to a PDF file is cost-effective and a piece of cake!
  2. Double check before signing – Always review a document before you sign it. If possible, leave enough time to read the material carefully and try to prevent being in situations that pressure you to sign. Remember, even slight variations to an agreement can have adverse consequences. 
  3. Seek professional advice – If you’re unsure what the terms of your lease mean in regards to your rights or obligations, call in the experts. It is important to know just what you are getting yourself into before it’s too late to back out - that way you can have your cake, and eat it too.

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