Advantages and disadvantages of using plain English in the tenancy agreement

By: Randall Luis

If you take a look at a tenancy agreement that you signed in the past, there is a strong chance that you will not understand anything. This is because legal jargon was utilized and most of the documents were tailored so that one of the parties had an advantage. All this changed with the introduction of plain English and making it obligatory for such documents. As expected, this brought in different advantages and disadvantages. However, as you will notice below, the advantages of using plain English in a tenancy agreement are much more important.

Contrary to what you might be tempted to believe, the use of plain English was welcomed by both landlords and tenants alike. This is because the biggest advantage was that it was much easier to understand all the obligations that are included in a tenancy agreement. The landlord knows exactly when, how much and where he is paid. The tenant knows where to send the payment and is protected in the event that a landlord says that he did not receive the money.

Not everyone understands legal jargon and this made the tenancy agreement impossible to read for most people. They had to hire lawyers just to translate the document. With the introduction of plain English, everyone can understand the stipulations presented in the tenancy agreement. All that is written is understood and if there are legal terms that are used, they are explained in a footnote. You basically save money because you do not need help to understand the document that you are signing.

When referring to disadvantages, the one that is easily noticed is that the tenancy agreement will be much longer. Most of the words that are labeled nowadays as being legal jargon have been invented in order to express different legal meanings in just a few words. By removing them, you basically need more space to explain everything properly. Plain English agreements are easier to understand but the space that is occupied by the tenancy agreement is almost tripled when compared with those that were signed in the past. The lengthy explanations immediately mean using more paper and this is not environmentally friendly. However, this fact stands out as the only disadvantage that can be mentioned and the advantages are much more important.

Even if the tenancy agreement is much easier to understand nowadays thanks to the inclusion of plain English, this does not mean that they should not be analyzed properly before signed. You need to know the legal aspects of everything that is included and some people still opt to hire lawyers in order to make sure that they do not make a mistake. This is not a necessity when dealing with a simple tenancy agreement but it stands out as being really important when business is involved. Just because plain English is utilized does not mean that a good lawyer cannot craft a document in such a way that his client is privileged after signing. Do not be tempted to believe everything that you are told until you properly understand all sentences that are included in the tenancy agreement that is to be signed.

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