Being the nice guy does not always pay


Not getting paid on time? Being taken advantage of? Whether it be a lease, a contract or any other kind of legal relationship, being the nice guy and helping the other party out does not always pay. You need to understand the framework you have in place, and your legal options, before you start playing nice.

Too often we see clients who want help with action they can take to recover debts or unpaid rent, or against another party that is doing the wrong thing. Usually, the pattern has been developing over time, and our client has tried to be tactful and considerate, and help someone else out by allowing time or leniency – giving them an inch, and finding they take a mile.

Unfortunately, often by the time these patterns develop to the point that our clients come to us for help, we have to tell them they cannot take immediate action – they need to trigger the requirements of their contract, lease or follow what the case law says to be able to take action.

Contracts and leases have specific requirements about how action can be taken, and in particular, the steps that have to be followed before the relationship can be ended. Even case law requires a certain level of formality to end agreements which are not in writing, or not specific to the circumstances. Generally,

  • Any ‘chances’ (i.e. notices) you give need to be in writing;
  • You need to tell the other person they are in default and what the consequences of not fixing the problem are; and
  • You need to give specific time frames for the problems to be addressed.

There is nothing stopping a savvy business person following the terms of their contract, and then being more generous. This positions them to take immediate action if their kindness is abused.

Know your documents, know your rights and follow the steps to protect yourself and your business. We can help proactively guide you through your contracts and leases, including giving you a set of documents and letters you can use to manage your contractual and property relationships so that you can both be the nice guy and cover yourself!