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How to Properly Sign a Contract – e-Signatures

Except for few specific circumstances, it is almost considered ancient to have parties to a contract physically meet up to a sign a contract in a boardroom. With the fast-paced lifestyles of most high-level executives, a more efficient method of signing contracts has been introduced: the e-Signature.

 

Although convenient, do e-signatures really create a valid and binding contract? Can e-signatures really replace hand-written signatures?

 

The Law

 

An e-signature can be considered a valid signature. In various jurisdictions, legislatures have enacted laws to deal with electronic signatures. For example, section 11 of Ontario’s Electronic Commerce Act provides:

 

“Subject to subsections (3) and (4), a legal requirement that a document be signed is satisfied by an electronic signature.”

 

But what if you didn’t provide the e-signature?

 

In a recent case, Ghaed v Telus Communications Co, 2013, (BC) the plaintiff disputed his obligation to make a payment under a signed services contract. The plaintiff argued that although the agreement had his electronic signature, since he had not placed the electronic signature on the agreement, he was not bound by it. It was established that the signature had been placed on the agreement by his office manager. The office manager stated she was given express consent by the plaintiff to accept the services contract. Based on this sequence of events, including an opportunity for the plaintiff to terminate the contract, the court found that the services contract was valid and binding on the plaintiff.

 

The Exceptions

 

An electronic signature may not be an acceptable method of signature for all legal agreements. The following agreements cannot be validated by an electronic signature (in Ontario):

 

  • Wills and codicils;

  • Promissory notes; and

  • Documents transferring land title.

Before you e-sign away…

 

  • Ensure that you have agreed to all the terms of the agreement and the other party’s information has been included in the execution line.

  • The electronic signature should be reliable in identifying the signee. A simple copied image of a signature may not be traceable to the signee. However, a digital signature used in conjunction with a document signing software may suffice as reliable in identifying the signee.

  • In order to avoid uncertainty and a potential dispute, it may be a good idea either to confirm with the other party that electronic signatures are permissible for the execution of the contract, or to include a clause in the contract recognizing the validity of electronic signatures.

 

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This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

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What should I look for in a commercial lease?

While most commercial leases are standard, you should still be careful about what you sign. The fine print matters, and every clause is important! For example, you may find yourself locked into a lease renewal you didn’t want, or  you may discover that you have agreed to absurd hikes in monthly rent payments.

Here are 6 of the many clauses to be aware of before entering into a commercial lease!

 

 

1. Renewal Clause

Most leases are for 1+ years. Once the term is over, you typically begin to occupy the space on a month-to-month basis. In some leases, a renewal clause may be included which would allow you to continue occupying the space under the same or similar terms and conditions.

 

Renewal may be automatic or optional on mutual agreement by the landlord and the tenant. Automatic renewal clauses will extend the lease for a stated period of time, unless you give notice of non-renewal within a stated period of time, and by using the stated notification process. If you have the option to renew, you may be in a position to renegotiate your agreement. Either way, pay close attention to the renewal clause as certain dates will be included as well as the procedure for initiating the negotiation procedure, such as providing notice to the landlord of your intent to renegotiate. The deadlines to this process are essential. It is a good idea to mark these dates in your calendar, and give yourself a notice period so that you can prepare to either renegotiate, or to find other premises to rent.

 

Signature, Sign, Writing, Pen, Author

Source 

2. Acceleration Clause

An acceleration clause provides the landlord with the right to demand the entire balance of the unpaid rent for the remainder of the term. Usually, the landlord is entitled to collect monthly payments as they become due. In spite of this, in the event that some payments are missed, the acceleration clause allows a landlord to mitigate damages by invoking this right before looking to court proceedings. Acceleration clauses can vary greatly so it’s important to know exactly what a landlord can demand from you in the event of a default under the lease.

 

3. Rent and Rent Increases

Many commercial leases will provide for a ‘base rent’ and ‘additional rent’. Be sure to calculate the total amount of rent when determining whether the lease is right for you. The total rent can be more than twice as much as the base rent once all costs have been included. Standard rent increases will likely be included in your lease, but changes in utilities or other shared costs may also result in proportional rent increases.

 

The occurrence of specific events (eg. an increase in property taxes on the premises) may also impact your rent. If you are signing a ‘net lease’, make sure you understand all the additional responsibilities you may have (eg. HVAC repairs) in addition to rent. Depending on the type of lease you are signing, make sure to read it carefully, or speak with a lawyer who can explain it to you, so that you know what to expect.

 

4. Utilities Payments

Utilities may be included in the rent but take caution. If you are listed as a utility account holder, then you’ll be liable for those payments. There are different combinations of utilities that may be included in your monthly rental payment. If you are in a position to negotiate, you may be able to reduce your rent depending on the extra utilities you’ll be paying for.

5. Sublease & Assignment

Your lease may allow you to sublease or assign your obligations, so look for provisions allowing for either right.

 

In a sublease, a subtenant would rent a portion of the property or even the entire property from you for a short period of time. A new agreement would be drafted between you and the subtenant, but you are still responsible for all obligations to the landlord. Such a provision will provide that landlord approval is required for any subleasing activities.

 

In an assignment, the assignee is agreeing to carry out your agreement with the landlord for the remainder of the term. The assignee will be responsible for all obligations to the landlord. Similarly, a clause allowing for assignment will require approval from the landlord so that certain checks, such as background or credit, may be conducted, and the lease can be amended accordingly. You should read the assignment carefully, because you or your guarantor may still be liable for the obligations under the lease until its termination. Be sure to obtain a release from the landlord and the assignee, if possible.

Calculator, Table, Bill, Work, Pay

Source

 

6. Common Elements

Use and access to common elements will often be included as a clause. Not all common elements are “common”. For example, the landlord or other tenants may have exclusive possession or use of a common element, such as a parking spot. Make sure you understand how you can use these common elements or areas. Be aware of your responsibilities for garbage and snow removal as well.

 

You will also want to be aware of many other aspects of the lease – what use you can make of the premises; what types of insurance you must obtain; what hours your business must/may operate; what signage is permissible; what repairs are the landlord’s responsibility; who will pay for improvements to the premises etc. Be sure to consult a legal advisor if you are unclear about your obligations!

 

Check out commercial lease templates and samples of the clauses discussed here in the Clausehound Small Business Law Library!

 

This blog was co-authored by Vi Vo.

 

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This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

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Simple Ways for Small Businesses to Use Content Marketing!

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Logojoy

Logojoy, a partner organization of Clausehound’s, outlines ways that small businesses can establish themselves and get ahead in advertising in a cost-effective way through content marketing.

 

The emphasis is on establishing your brand and then setting goals to develop the most consistent and flexible content marketing strategy. Logojoy reminds that your marketing doesn’t have to heavily depend upon generating your own content. It is just as important to find and share content, which can also build business connections. (Much like Clausehound is doing here!)

 

You should keep an eye on what’s relevant and trending, what your competition is doing, and to make sure content is diverse in its format and across all platforms. Just look to Clausehound and it pushes content to its blog, Facebook, and even YouTube.

To read Logojoy’s full article on content marketing for small businesses, please click here.

 

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This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

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Successful Entrepreneurs Need to be Selfish Sometimes!

Links from this article:
Futurpreneur

Being an entrepreneur—and a successful one at that—is a herculean effort. It might look like a lot of fun, but a lot of work goes into trying to get a new business going. Futurpreneur, a partner organization of Clausehound’s, showcases one entrepreneur’s outlook on her life in this short piece.

 

Chakameh Shafii is the CEO of TranQool, an online counselling service. She writes about how entrepreneurs need to remember to be selfish, and in more ways than one.

 

Selfishness is not just about taking time away from work to be with your family and friends or catch up with yourself (whether it be, she suggests, by working out or watching Netflix). Interestingly, she also posits that it is good for entrepreneurs to be selfish and take the time to do what you love by continuing to work away at your business, because as stressful as it can be it’s just as rewarding.

 

To read the full article on Futurpreneur, please click here.

 

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This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

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Check out the HackerNest Toronto Tech Job Fair on May 27!

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Tech Job Fair on May 27!
Hackernest

Getting down to business is something Clausehound is no stranger to. Wherever there’s a chance to talk or connect, we encourage involvement in the local scene and network until we can’t anymore!

 

As you can tell, we go to many events and fairs. They might seem to be all about work at first, but it’s just as much about meeting a bunch of great people. We’re always looking forward to the next one, and coming up soon is the big and friendly HackerNest Toronto Tech Job Fair on Saturday, May 27. It will take place at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. If you register online tickets are only $10 or $15 at the door.Look forward to the mix of students as well as professionals from a variety of backgrounds and industries!

To learn more about the HackerNest Toronto Tech Job Fair, click here.

 

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Clausehound.com regularly curates a list of innovation and entrepreneur-focused events. Events we like have insightful speakers and provide attendees an opportunity to network with entrepreneurs, and learn from others within the community.

Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound.com offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

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Check out Open Sky Incubator’s Azure Internet of Things (IoT) Hub Workshop on May 30!

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Azure Workshop
Open Sky Incubator

More and more, the internet of things (IoT) is finding ways to connect devices so data can be shared to better build services for people. Clausehound is similarly dedicated to sharing its repository of legal knowledge and documents to entrepreneurs so they can more easily draft contracts to grow their ventures.

 

Businesses are using IoT to better monitor their devices and maintain their systems. However, doing so on your own is not simple, and can in fact be very costly and time-consuming. As a result, Clausehound’s partner organization, Open Sky Incubator, is hosting a workshop on how to use services like Microsoft Azure to quickly and securely connect your devices under IoT. The event will take place on Tuesday, May 30 at 41 Ardelt Place in Kitchener.

 

Be sure to attend to find out about how Microsoft Azure can host your IoT hub and to learn how to use the service. Tickets are only $5.

To learn more about the Azure Internet of Things (IoT) Hub Workshop, click here.

 

–  –  –

Clausehound.com regularly curates a list of innovation and entrepreneur-focused events. Events we like have insightful speakers and provide attendees an opportunity to network with entrepreneurs, and learn from others within the community.

Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound.com offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

What you don't know can hurt you! Subscribe to stay informed.

Sign up now and receive an email when we publish new content.

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Read more...

Look out for Open Sky Incubator’s Accounting Fundamentals for Entrepreneurs Workshop on May 17!

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Open Sky Incubator

It’s always important to keep track of your money, and especially so if you’re trying to get a new business off of the ground. It can seem daunting, but should be much more manageable when you have accountants telling you exactly how to do it!

 

Clausehound’s partner organization Open Sky Incubator is hosting a workshop for entrepreneurs on the fundamentals of accounting. It will take place on Wednesday, May 17 at 41 Ardelt Place in Kitchener.

 

Be sure to attend to learn the basics and best practices of accounting and bookkeeping, what not to do, and find out about a couple of inexpensive software tools you can use to keep track of your finances! Tickets are only $10.

To learn more about the Accounting Fundamentals for Entrepreneurs Workshop, click here.  

 

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This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

What you don't know can hurt you! Subscribe to stay informed.

Sign up now and receive an email when we publish new content.

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Save the date – George Brown College’s Applied Research Day 2017 is happening on May 25!

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startGBC

There’s a lot happening for industries in Toronto, and applied research plays a big part in shaking those industries up. The importance of gathering knowledge and applying it to problems to produce solutions for people is at the heart of what more and more businesses are aiming to do.

 

Clausehound is one of them, and has spent a lot of time at George Brown College (GBC) working away. As a result, we are pretty excited about GBC’s Applied Research Day 2017. It’s happening on Thursday, May 25 at 51 Dockside Drive, down by the Waterfront in Toronto!

 

Expect a day full of networking with industry professionals and learning from promising students about their applied research and the room for innovation expected in those industries. Registration is free.

To learn more about GBC’s Applied Research Day 2017, click here.

 

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This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

What you don't know can hurt you! Subscribe to stay informed.

Sign up now and receive an email when we publish new content.

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Read more...

Disclaimer: This database is provided for informational purposes only and copying, downloading, or use of any content on this site in any way does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. ClauseHound Inc. does not provide legal advice, nor should any advice from ClauseHound Inc. be construed as such. Read the Full Disclaimer