Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can we escape from a lease?

Please may you let me know if it is legal to have an office tenancy lease without an exit clause? My husband and his partner rent offices in Francistown and last year they wrote to the landlord to terminate the lease but we're told they couldn't because the is no exit clause so they can't leave before two years is up.

I don’t think you need to be a lawyer to understand this situation.

Your husband and his partner willingly and competently entered into an agreement with the landlord, an agreement that was put in writing. Neither of them was insane at the time. They both read and understood the lease they were signing. They noticed at the time that there was no early termination clause. They did read the lease agreement, didn’t they?

Unfortunately your husband and his partner are committed to whatever the lease says and are not able to exploit things that aren’t in the lease, but they wish were there. If there’s no early termination clause in the lease then no early termination is possible without the consent of the landlord.

Think of it this way. Do you think the landlord should be able to kick your husband and his partner out just because he changes his mind or should he or she be committed to the two-year agreement they all signed?

One option would be to try and find a new tenant to take over the lease so the landlord doesn’t suffer any losses but that’s not always easy to do.

The lesson is simple. You must read and fully understand anything you sign before you sign it. If you don’t understand the document, whatever it might be, then don’t sign it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lease for a property, a banking agreement or (most importantly) a store credit or hire purchase agreement you must not sign it until you’ve understood it. If necessary ask a relative, a friend, a colleague, your kid’s teacher or Consumer Watchdog to help you understand it. Just don’t sign it until you know what every word means.

They took my money!

I am glad to have read about how your organisation had helped both customers and business's to resolve issues with fairness of what the law permits.

A friend of mine had applied for a loan at a bank in January, she was told she has to clear a debt at a store, about P2,500, which she did, then she received another charge of about P890 in the name of charges as they had reported her at ITC. When she thought it was over, the store gave her a letter that shes cleared but the information from the bank indicated she still owed about P400, she went back and queried then the store deleted it. Now it is hard for her to be given a letter clearing her from ITC, she is being told it may take up to 7 days.

It is all confusing why after paying all these has to happen and instead of easing her financial needs and make use of the funds to invest, she’s being tossed around.

How can u help her?

My understanding is that “clearing” your name with TransUnion (who used to be called ITC) does take a few days. Your friend also needs to understand that getting a loan to “invest” is a remarkably poor financial decision. The fees you pay on loans are likely to be a lot more than the profits you make on any form of investment. Do you know what sort of investment she’s considering? Have you checked that it’s not a scam? Please let me know.

I think your friend needs to get a full statement from TransUnion. You can get this directly from TransUnion but I think you can also get them from major post offices for a small fee. That will show her everything that the bank sees about her. Then she’ll know where she stands.

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