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Validity of French rental contract by email

 
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Renaud2



Joined: 30 Jun 2014
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:54 pm    Post subject: Validity of French rental contract by email Reply with quote

Hi, we currently email a french contract to english renters, but ask them to send signed copies back to us in France, by post. Sometimes people make errors in filling in the bits we require (despite very clear instructions, and an example), and we then have to ask them to print new contracts, fill them correctly, and re-send them. Obviously this makes the process very time consuming.
Does anyone know if a signed, completed contract can be emailed back to us and still be legally acceptable under french law?
Thanks.
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edinburgh



Joined: 02 Jul 2014
Posts: 398
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I know nothing about French law, if a signing service is acceptable proof, then I recommend http://www.signable.co.uk/

Their pay as you go model is very affordable, and the process is excellent.
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e-richard



Joined: 17 Oct 2004
Posts: 4878
Location: Algarve, Portugal

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again, I am amazed that people still post contracts using papyrus filled in with quill pens stuffed into paper folders with sticky stamps on.

This is the age of the Internet. Billions of Euros are spent daily using e-commerce where almost every transaction comes with a "tick to agree" box. That is all you need to buy anything on the Internet anywhere in the modern world. Services, or products no matter how delivered.

I'm sure someone here will spend a few hundred Euros to consult a lawyer to confirm what I have said !
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kevsboredagain



Joined: 20 Jan 2007
Posts: 3209
Location: France

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As e-richards says, very few people are signing and mailing paper contract these days.
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greenfrog



Joined: 21 May 2006
Posts: 888
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, if it's electronically signed, it's legal. If you use cute pdf you can generate a document they can either sign electronically, or print, sign, then scan and return to you. I do all mine like that now.
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Renaud2



Joined: 30 Jun 2014
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies so far.

'edinburgh': thanks, but that looks to me like it's adding complexity and cost.

'e-richard': continue to be amazed. However, you haven't answered the question.You've just stated what most people already know, i.e. lots of things are bought on the internet and lots of transactions use tick-boxes. Why would anybody consult a lawyer to confirm that?

'kevsboredagain': again, doesn't really answer the question. Just states how lots of people are doing something, which I already knew.

'greenfrog': thanks for answering the question. But why 'cute pdf'? Isn't a pdf generated by other software acceptable?

Anyway, thanks for the responses. If anyone else has a contribution I'd welcome it.

To recap: we want to know if our potential renters e-mail back to us contracts with a simple electronic signature, is this legally binding in french law?
For information: we send by email our contract in pdf form, generated from Open Office.

Thanks again.
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edinburgh



Joined: 02 Jul 2014
Posts: 398
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Renaud2 wrote:

'edinburgh': thanks, but that looks to me like it's adding complexity and cost.


No problem - although, 1 a contract seems a lot less hassle (and cost) than posting things back and forth.

It's not very complex, and what I love about the system is that Signable are able to verify to a court (if required!) that the document was issued to the guest's email address, and that someone with access to the guest's email address signed the document. That is something a regular check box on a website cannot verify (for example, a check box on my website is up to me to validate, which might not hold much legal water).

Given the choice of:
1. Printing the contract (a cost)
2. Posting the contract to the guest (a cost)
3. Waiting for the contact to reach the guest (a delay)
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 if amendments to the contract need to be made.
5. Waiting for the contract to be returned by the guest.

or

1. Give your Signable template the dates, cost, and guest details, and let the guest instantly return the contract.

... well, it seems to me that verified electronic contracts through third party digital signing services are cheaper and quicker than paper contracts.

The other advantage of digital, is that my guest completes the contract quickly. If the contract has time to sit around on their coffee table, they might choose to withdraw from the contract.

Anyway, they offer a two week free trial. It's only 1 a document afterwards anyway. I would recommend setting up a template and trying it with a few friends, or even people on here, to see just how easy it is.

(I don't work for them, promise!)
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Renaud2



Joined: 30 Jun 2014
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks 'edinburgh'. I appreciate your lengthy reply. I will investigate it further.

Just to be clear, however, we are not doing steps 1,2, and 3, as in your 'Given the choice of' section, as we are emailing them a pdf contract. But we are trying to eliminate step 5, and be sure that an emailed, signed pdf by return is legally acceptable in france.

Thanks again.
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kevsboredagain



Joined: 20 Jan 2007
Posts: 3209
Location: France

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You question has been answered by example. The fact that the majority of large online businesses do away with a paper signed contract would suggest it's legal. If not, then most of the business world is trading illegally.

I have the feeling you should be asking a lawyer, if you want a definitive legal answer. You will only find opinion on an internet forum.

You're are focusing on the signature part of a contract as being the acceptance, whereas that is not the only way to accept a contract. When I receive a work contract, just turning up to work is enough to show I've accepted the contract. I don't actually need to sign it.

You're also assuming your paper contract is legal just because it's signed. You can't just write anything on paper, have someone sign it and you've made a legal contract. The only way to be 100% sure, is to have a lawyer verify your contract clauses.

I'm not a lawyer, so these are simply my opinions Very Happy
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Marks



Joined: 06 Nov 2006
Posts: 2764
Location: Costa Blanca

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevsboredagain wrote:
You're are focusing on the signature part of a contract as being the acceptance, whereas that is not the only way to accept a contract. When I receive a work contract, just turning up to work is enough to show I've accepted the contract. I don't actually need to sign it.

I think I have quoted this example before. I company I previously worked for successfully sued a client for breach of contract when the client had not signed the contract, the court readily accepted that because both sides had operated within the conditions of the contract up to the point the contract was breached, that was sufficient to prove there was a contract in place.
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kevsboredagain



Joined: 20 Jan 2007
Posts: 3209
Location: France

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A quick google search reveals that acceptance is indeed enough in french law just as in English law.
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Renaud2



Joined: 30 Jun 2014
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for the continued input.

'kevsboredagain' as you have a property in France can I ask you what procedure you use regarding rental contracts?

Do you insist on signatures?

Also, could you tell me what terms you entered in your Google search, so that I can read the same results?

Many thanks.
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kevsboredagain



Joined: 20 Jan 2007
Posts: 3209
Location: France

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Renaud2 wrote:
Thanks again for the continued input.

'kevsboredagain' as you have a property in France can I ask you what procedure you use regarding rental contracts?

Do you insist on signatures?

Also, could you tell me what terms you entered in your Google search, so that I can read the same results?

Many thanks.


I searched for contract acceptance in french law and found many articles.

I myself simply use an online booking form with a check box for reading and accepting terms. Client receives copy of completed form automatically by email. Twice in 5 years I've been asked to mail signed copy as some people still believe a signature is required.

The procedure would be to complete booking form then pay deposit. Again, paying a deposit would also indicate acceptance of the contract.
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Renaud2



Joined: 30 Jun 2014
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'kevsboredagain': thanks for that. Very useful.

And thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply.

We will review our current methods, and will probably use one of the suggestions mentioned in the above posts.
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