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
The tenants further specified that "Vanilla cake is not
acceptable" which was simply icing on the cake for this
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
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
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!
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.
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.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The High Court of Australia has granted special leave to appeal a decision of the NSWCA that upheld an adjudication determination under the NSW 1999.
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