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When is a contract legally binding in Canada?

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  • Apr 24th, 2013 8:29 pm
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Member
Mar 5, 2009
299 posts
68 upvotes

When is a contract legally binding in Canada?

I have a "sublet" contract that I signed that I want to terminate. I have not moved into the apartment yet. I did not pay any deposits. The "contract" does not state anything with regards to termination. The "contract" that I signed is the one below:
http://www.kw4rent.com/wp-content/uploa ... N-FORM.pdf
Please note that the person I am subletting from did not sign this. Is this a legally binding contract under Canadian law?

Also, the person I signed this "contract" to has my post-dated cheques. If this is in fact not a legally binding contract, then is the person supposed to forfeit the cheques back to me?
12 replies
Deal Expert
May 17, 2008
15134 posts
152 upvotes
That doesn't look like a lease. It just looks like an application form.
[OP]
Member
Mar 5, 2009
299 posts
68 upvotes
This is what I thought too but this person is telling me I have to pay the complete 4 month of rent (which is the duration of the lease). If this isn't even a contract, then how do I get her to give my cheques back?
Deal Addict
May 9, 2007
4941 posts
500 upvotes
Vancouver Island, BC
serious7 wrote:
Apr 23rd, 2013 11:54 pm
This is what I thought too but this person is telling me I have to pay the complete 4 month of rent (which is the duration of the lease). If this isn't even a contract, then how do I get her to give my cheques back?
A contract is an agreement between two parties. This sure doesn't look like any kind of agreement and it is clearly identified as being an application. I would put stop payment on the cheques and consider the cost of the stop-payment as my tuition fee for having learned a life lesson about handing over cheques without having a contract.
Deal Guru
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Mar 25, 2003
10152 posts
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Markham
if you gave her cheques, call your bank to stop the cheques.
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Deal Expert
May 17, 2008
15134 posts
152 upvotes
Are you renting from the company that owns the buildings or a tenant?

Did you not sign anything specifying how much you would pay and when? If not, it doesn't really mean you are legally off the hook, it just means that they did not protect themselves very well. A verbal contract, which it seems pretty clear that you entered into, is still legally binding. The fact that you gave them post dated cheques is a pretty clear sign of what you agreed to.

Morally I think you know what you should do, but otherwise, it really comes down to if you think she will try to push the matter legally. Odds are she won't, but she could make your life hard by doing something like cashing all your post dated cheques at Money Mart.
Sr. Member
Sep 8, 2008
541 posts
109 upvotes
in contract law there needs to be an offer, acceptance and consideration.

To make it binding we usually have a contract but the courts may interpret things differently.

the offer was the apartment /house, the acceptance was when you gave the post dated cheques and the consideration was the post dated cheques. However since you did not receive the keys yet, I dont think it would hold up in court.

So tell them via email or text that you no longer require the place and see what they say. You want your conversations in writing or possibly recorded in case you get taken to court.

Your other arguement is the post dated cheques itself. Under the landlord and tenant act of ontario, it is illegal to ask for post dated cheques. you can exercise this right by letting the sublessor know that you refuse to provide thwm post dated cheques and see what they say. if they refuse to sublet the you the place then you are out. It is common practice to ask for post dated cheques, it shows good faith when you provide it. Personally, I don't rent out to people who refuse.

Kindly tell them that due to unforseen circumstances you can no longer rent the place and go from there. If they refuse, Seek some legal advice.

I am a Real Estate agent and hold a Paralegal diploma.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jul 26, 2006
7548 posts
387 upvotes
Scarborough
zeeden wrote:
Apr 24th, 2013 8:25 am
in contract law there needs to be an offer, acceptance and consideration.

To make it binding we usually have a contract but the courts may interpret things differently.

the offer was the apartment /house, the acceptance was when you gave the post dated cheques and the consideration was the post dated cheques. However since you did not receive the keys yet, I dont think it would hold up in court.

So tell them via email or text that you no longer require the place and see what they say. You want your conversations in writing or possibly recorded in case you get taken to court.

Your other arguement is the post dated cheques itself. Under the landlord and tenant act of ontario, it is illegal to ask for post dated cheques. you can exercise this right by letting the sublessor know that you refuse to provide thwm post dated cheques and see what they say. if they refuse to sublet the you the place then you are out. It is common practice to ask for post dated cheques, it shows good faith when you provide it. Personally, I don't rent out to people who refuse.

Kindly tell them that due to unforseen circumstances you can no longer rent the place and go from there. If they refuse, Seek some legal advice.

I am a Real Estate agent and hold a Paralegal diploma.
So you state
1) it's illegal to ask for post dated cheques
2) that you refuse to follow the law, and you won't rent out unless they provide them, and
3) that you have a paralegal diploma.

Why am I not surprised? Someone who has legal background would break the law. Just like the Government - laws apparently apply differently to you, than to everyone else, eh?
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[OP]
Member
Mar 5, 2009
299 posts
68 upvotes
zeeden wrote:
Apr 24th, 2013 8:25 am
in contract law there needs to be an offer, acceptance and consideration.

To make it binding we usually have a contract but the courts may interpret things differently.

the offer was the apartment /house, the acceptance was when you gave the post dated cheques and the consideration was the post dated cheques. However since you did not receive the keys yet, I dont think it would hold up in court.

So tell them via email or text that you no longer require the place and see what they say. You want your conversations in writing or possibly recorded in case you get taken to court.

Your other arguement is the post dated cheques itself. Under the landlord and tenant act of ontario, it is illegal to ask for post dated cheques. you can exercise this right by letting the sublessor know that you refuse to provide thwm post dated cheques and see what they say. if they refuse to sublet the you the place then you are out. It is common practice to ask for post dated cheques, it shows good faith when you provide it. Personally, I don't rent out to people who refuse.

Kindly tell them that due to unforseen circumstances you can no longer rent the place and go from there. If they refuse, Seek some legal advice.

I am a Real Estate agent and hold a Paralegal diploma.
THIS is an amazing post. I did NOT know that post-dated cheques are illegal. You sir are a BOSS.

Thanks to all the others for their help here too.
Deal Expert
Mar 25, 2005
20175 posts
1463 upvotes
serious7 wrote:
Apr 24th, 2013 12:51 pm
THIS is an amazing post. I did NOT know that post-dated cheques are illegal. You sir are a BOSS.

Thanks to all the others for their help here too.
Demanding a post-dated cheque is prohibited, but in and of itself, they are not "illegal."
Deal Expert
May 17, 2008
15134 posts
152 upvotes
serious7 wrote:
Apr 24th, 2013 12:51 pm
THIS is an amazing post. I did NOT know that post-dated cheques are illegal. You sir are a BOSS.

Thanks to all the others for their help here too.
Demanding post dated cheques is not allowed, but you are more than free to provide them. Since you already provided the cheques, the advice regarding that is not very useful to you.

The law is only really relevant to the extent that you can enforce it. While demanding post dated cheques is not allowed, most landloards do it anyways, and there really is no recourse for tenants. It definitely isn't grounds to break a lease.
Sr. Member
Sep 8, 2008
541 posts
109 upvotes
_Allan_ wrote:
Apr 24th, 2013 9:07 am
So you state
1) it's illegal to ask for post dated cheques
2) that you refuse to follow the law, and you won't rent out unless they provide them, and
3) that you have a paralegal diploma.

Why am I not surprised? Someone who has legal background would break the law. Just like the Government - laws apparently apply differently to you, than to everyone else, eh?
So what? I'm above the law, what are you going to do, call the cops?

Lol I'm kidding...

Let me rephrase as it was early this morning. As others have posted, It's not illegal to ask for, you just don't have to provide it when asked. Any no pet clause or post dated cheque Clause in a contract , the clause is deem void. This doesn't mean that the entire contract is void, just those clauses.

I use the law to my advantage and I don't purposely break laws, but I don't live my life like a sheep either.
Sr. Member
Dec 22, 2005
751 posts
4 upvotes
Dundas
Keigotw wrote:
Apr 24th, 2013 12:30 am
if you gave her cheques, call your bank to stop the cheques.
You have to be careful doing this. The person with the post-dated cheques could go to a cheque cashing/cash advance store. In this case the store will then go to the bank. When they find out the cheques have a stop payment they will sue the OP and they will most likely win. When you write a cheque you are legally obligated to honour the cheque. The money cashing place argue they accepted the cheque in good faith and the law agrees with them. Google the term "cross cheques and Canada" to learn more.
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