A contract arises when a consumer buys a product or service or, for example, accepts an offer from a company. A contract is binding on both parties and cannot be altered unilaterally without a special reason. Our Consumer Advisory Service’s tips for July relate to housing, renovation and holiday cabins, in all of which contracts play a major role.
Written estate agency contracts are the key to successful housing purchases
A housing purchase always involves the drawing up of a written or electronic estate agency contract. An estate agent cannot rely on oral terms or information.
By law, a home seller must provide the buyer with all information that may affect his or her purchase decision. An estate agency contract should include issues such as information on the age of the residence or building, its repair history and condition, and future repair needs.
There is no obligation to sell a residence, even if an estate agency agreement has been made. However, an agency fee must be paid if the contract with the estate agent mentions a full price offer, which satisfies the price and other conditions agreed in the contract. Otherwise, the fee will only be paid if the sale is realised.
Complain about baseless electricity supply contracts
Electricity supply contracts are often sold by telephone. If you receive confirmation of an electricity supply contract from a telesalesperson which you think you did not make, you can cancel the contract within 14 days of its being made by phone. If the cancellation period has expired, or there was no cancellation period, complain to the seller as soon as possible and dispute having made an electricity supply contract.
You should seek competitive offers for your electricity supply contract every now and again, for example at the end of a fixed-term contract. For more information on how to seek competitive electricity supply offers, see the website of the Energy Authority.
A written renovation contract prevents disputes
Request offers from several renovation firms before signing a renovation contract. Always make a written contract with your service provider. If the contract is purely verbal, you will have no evidence on the basis of which to demand that the renovation firm sticks to the agreed price or schedule. When making a contract, use the small renovation contract model on our website.
Renovation services are also offered through door-to-door selling. In the case of larger renovations, in particular, it is worth comparing prices and taking time to familiarise yourself with the contract terms. There is no obligation to purchase and you do not have to decide immediately. The consumer has a 14 day right of withdrawal in the case of door-to-door sales. But there is no right of withdrawal when the product is manufactured to meet the consumer's personal needs, for example.
Take pictures of any damage in your rented apartment
In addition to a written contract, it is worth recording any faults and deficiencies in the apartment, together with your landlord, at the beginning and end of the lease. You should also take photos of the apartment. In this way, you will avoid disputes at the end of the rental contract and no discrepancies will arise when the security deposit is returned to the tenant.
Report any deficiencies in a rented holiday cabin without delay
Holiday cabins are subject to similar agency, renovation and electricity contracts to other types of accommodation. We recommend that you make a written contract for a rented holiday cabin. If a rented holiday cabin is not as agreed, you can request a price reduction. If the cabin differs significantly from what was promised, the entire contract can be cancelled if necessary.
Making a contract